As yet another Domestic Violence Awareness Month came to a close, for all the progress we have made toward awareness, our culture still struggles with its view of a victim’s most daunting struggle – leaving the abusive relationship. From misguided criticism to outright scorn for the victim, the decision to leave or remain with an abusive partner can be an understandable source of pain and division between victims and their family and friends, and even how society perceives victims of domestic abuse. For the outsider, the solution to an abusive relationship is often perceived to be as simple as basic arithmetic. The “math” goes something like this: You + Abuse - Leave Abusive Partner = No More Abuse. Problem solved! It is the mathematical equivalent to 1 + 1 - 1 = 1. And, in fairness, in some cases, it is that simple as victims do end abusive relationships relatively easily and successfully each day.
GBV is a growing problem among older couples, women of age 50+ but it is not always taken seriously. So, they suffer in silence. It is rampant but mostly hidden because most victims fear reporting. This scenario is as a result of cultural, and social factors and norms, fear and embarrassment to ask for help, and the belief that the menace affects mostly the young women.
Gender-based violence affects women of all ages. However, women aged 50+, have been left out of demographic surveys and studies. Most of the documented data is for women aged 15 -49 years. The lack of reliable and comprehensible data on this group makes it even difficult to design appropriate policies and interventions to support them. As a result, they end up invisible and neglected. We need to change this.