OOP Survivor Blog

Four women and five children die every day in the U.S. due to domestic violence. Read President Barack Obama's Presidential Proclamation announcing his commitment to reducing the prevalence of domestic violence in our country.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Seniors dealing with domestic violence are often overlooked

Many people think of domestic violence victims as being young women, and most likely young women who are not all that bright or experienced, etc. There's definitely a stereotype, which only makes it that much harder for many women who are being abused to come forward and seek help. Especially if they're seniors. Older women who are dealing with domestic violence often suffer in silence, and when they do speak out or seek help they find that there is no help for them.

Not only are they fighting against stereotypes, they are up against a system that is not prepared to help them. According to an article in today's Arizona Republic, "most domestic violence programs and shelters serve younger women with children." So what do you do when you're in your 60's or 70's and are desperate for help and support?

Fortunately, as covered in the article (pasted below), there is a local program here in Phoenix, DOVES, that helps older women escape domestic violence and get back on their feet. Without DOVES, these women would have no hope.

To learn more about the DOVES program and to watch a video about it, click here. DOVES is in need of donations, especially at this time of year, and can be reached at 602-264-4357.

Abused seniors turn to


by Brennan Smith - Dec. 8, 2010 12:00 AM

The Arizona Republic

C.J. suffered domestic abuse throughout her

45-year marriage.

In 2005, she fled her husband in Indiana

and came to the Valley.

The then-62-year-old seemed to have no

place to turn - most domestic-violence

programs and shelters serve younger

women with children.

C.J. lived at Phoenix Sky Harbor International

Airport and in downtown buildings while she

desperately sought assistance. She was

finally referred to the Area Agency on

Aging's DOVES program, which provides

services for older people who are victims of

domestic violence and have run out of


Alice Ghareib, director of DOVES (Domestic

Violence Does Not Respect Age), said older

women are not eligible for assistance

through organizations designed for younger

abused women with children.

"This population, there are no services for

them. There are no other options," Ghareib

said. "The issues of the older population are

unique. We need to be able to provide

services across the board no matter what

the age is."

DOVES helps about 150 senior domestic-

abuse victims yearly with transitional

housing and support groups, while also

raising awareness.

"Just because couples turn 50, it doesn't

mean domestic violence goes away," Ghareib


C.J., now 67, said she had endured abuse

most of her life as her husband mentally and

verbally belittled her. Her husband is now

dead, but The Republic is withholding her

full identity to protect her safety.

"Verbal abuse for me, being naive, started at

the beginning of the marriage, and as the

years went by, it got worse and worse," C.J.

said. "I thought I was worth nothing."

In August 2005, she said, her husband

pushed her up against the bathroom wall

and the sink. He began cursing her and

choking her. Finally, she got away to a

friend's house. She decided that night she

was leaving.

The next morning, she took a flight to

Arizona with $75 in her pocket and a bag of

clothes and arrived with nowhere to stay.

DOVES took her in. She was given temporary

housing and began attending support group meetings.

Victims also receive assistance applying for

public benefits, pursuing legal action and

purchasing basic necessities.

The program costs around $350,000

annually and is largely supported by

community and business donations, Ghareib


Season for Sharing has raised about

$30,000 for the program since 2007. It is

one of more than 130 agencies or programs

supported by the annual campaign, which

last year raised $2.86 million to assist

Arizonans in need.

"I can't say enough about the DOVES

program," C.J. said. "If it hadn't been for

them, I don't know where I would be right

now. I really don't."

Asked what advice she would give to a

woman who was suffering the same abuse

she went through, C.J. said she would tell the

woman that it isn't her fault.

"I don't care what you did or what you do,

abuse is never justified," C.J. said. "I would

tell them you have that right to leave, but

only you can make that decision."

Senior-abuse victims are encouraged to call

DOVES at 602-264-4357 for help.

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