Belfast Telegraph

Older abuse victims seeking help

Older people shamed into silence after suffering rape or sexual abuse when younger are coming forward for help.

A total of 95 women and 28 men aged over 55 attended rape crisis centres across Ireland in 2010.

More than half of the women revealed the sexual violence happened in their own homes, with almost 80% abused over several years as a child.

Breid Morris, of the Older Women's Network (OWN), said people are never too old to start healing from sexual violence.

"Older survivors had come from an era where sexual assault was not spoken about, when myths abounded unchallenged that kept them ashamed and silent," she said.

"Women who have managed, through a variety of means, to hold their past in check for decades so that they could raise children, work and contribute to the community may have not recognised the impact of sexual abuse on their lives.

"We hope this message will give older women an opportunity to have their stories heard."

Nine out of 10 knew the abuser and almost half were attacked by one or more family members.

In 5% of cases the perpetrators were women.

The Rape Crisis Network Ireland and OWN have launched a new DVD for older women who suffered from sexual violence.

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From Belfast Telegraph