Older women are victims of domestic violence, too

Shortly before she reached retirement age, Marie Burke’s husband had a stroke. After a week in intensive care, he was moved to a care home to aid his recuperation. So that he didn’t have to go into care permanently, Burke (not her real name) agreed to leave her job two years early and become his full-time carer. Then the problems in their relationship began.

Her husband would pore over bank statements, demand she hand over receipts for all expenditure and raise his voice if she couldn’t account for any small sums. “I paid for two cappuccinos, a juice and some cake in Starbucks, forgot to get a receipt and he accused me of lying,” Burke says. “He was convinced I’d been meeting another man, not my daughter-in-law. When I texted her asking her to tell him it was true, he said I was trying to make him look mad.” The controlling behaviour escalated: her trips outside of the home were timed, and all but non-essential outings were banned. Barely a day went by without her husband shouting at her, complaining about her cooking, her spending, her appearance, her housekeeping and her cooking. “He even said my breathing was too loud and kept him awake, so I slept on the sofa.”

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