Read the real story of Nora who has been supported by Women’s Aid.
My name is Nora. I am 72 years old. Every time my husband walks into a room, I hold my breath. There’s a panic through my whole body. I sit frozen, waiting to see what he’ll do to me. Sometimes it’s insults. Sometimes it’s something a bit more dangerous. Always it’s about his power, his control.
You’d think after 51 years of marriage, I’d be used to it. But you never get used to terror. I know, it’s hard to believe an older woman like me would be in this situation. But domestic violence knows no boundaries. Lately I am having panic attacks, flashbacks of some of the worst times. I remember hiding in the bathroom for hours, just falling apart. My tears make him even angrier.
When my 48-year-old son moved home, I hoped for protection – but it turns out he takes after his father. I am living with two monsters. I try to stay calm in the moment because I know it’s my only defence. But when they’re asleep, that’s when I break in two. The tears and regrets come flooding in.
I have felt suffocated. Trapped. Completely alone in the world. Most times I thought this will never end. There’s no escape. Luckily I can finally see some light. A way out. A few months ago I secretly rang Women’s Aid and spoke to a support worker. She offered me so much reassurance. She didn’t pressure me, she just let me speak.
So now, I’m moving slowly. I’m afraid of what will happen if they find out I rang. But it was a first step and now I don’t feel so alone anymore. They’re helping me with a safety plan. My next steps will be big ones. But I want to take them. At 72, I’m finally ready.
These stories are based on real accounts as told to the Women’s Aid National Freephone Helpline and One-to-One Support Services. Specific details and circumstances have been changed in the interests of protecting identity and to preserve the confidential nature of Women’s Aid Services.