Invisible Women (fictional stories)


Ageing doesn’t inevitably mean decline, but systematic ageism can make it harder for us to thrive as we age. We are often defined solely by our age, the term ‘elderly’,  gives me an allergic reaction, and describes a group of diverse people by a number that nobody can really define. 

As a child I considered anyone over 25 as old!

For nearly 30 years, I’ve had the privilege of working with people in their later years in a variety of roles. I’ve seen bodies physically change, shared moments at the end of life and also when they are climbing mountains and achieving great things.

When I say it’s been a privilege, I don’t say it lightly.

I’ve had roles that have given me time, intimacy and conversations, most people don’t ever have with their own relatives. But that privilege has also given me a view of the hidden, chronic fear some people, mostly women, endure for decades. 

And they are invisible

Women who have lived during a time where they were often expected to marry men young, bear children and provide a warm welcoming home, with little consideration for their own wants and desires. 

A time when women couldn’t take out a mortgage or loan without her husband or father’s to guarantee that debt

A time where being gay was illegal.

A time when many pubs wouldn’t serve a woman, if unaccompanied by a man.

A time being raped by your husband wasn’t a crime. 

A time where the phrase ‘behind closed doors’ was a common phrase and still is… for some. 

We also know that as men age, the risk of them being subjected to abuse by an adult child or grandchild, also increases. So, whilst I focus on older women, I recognise the issue is far broader and complex than that.

It’s positive that we are speaking more about domestic abuse and there is growing awareness of the scale of the problem. We now have Domestic Abuse legislation.

However, for people in later life, we still don’t actually know the scale of the problem. Up to 2018, Crime survey data only collected data on victims aged between 16-59 years, and the upper age limit was only completely removed last year. So if you look at the data and don’t understand it, it can appear that ageing is actually a protective factor.

This is misleading and wholly inaccurate

Many of us will be able to relate to that feeling of invisibility as we age, but imagine how invisible you would feel if you are being controlled, abused, and silenced.

And everyone around can’t really see you.

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