Christmas Day has come and gone for another year.
Many of us – including me – will return to work this week a little heavier than we were a few days ago.
The festive season is one of the most stressful times on the calendar not least because we tend to work ourselves up into a frenzy before the big day buying Christmas presents and creating food mountains in our kitchens and utility rooms.
The death of Mary Russell, 81, from a bleed to the brain after an alleged assault by her 88-year-old husband Albert, has highlighted the fact that domestic violence among older couples is far more common than is generally thought.
Their age often means police, social care and health professionals are not as aware of the problem as they should be. “The abuse, whether physical or psychological, is often very long-term, perhaps throughout a 40-year marriage. The abuser can often present as very frail: if the woman has a disability or is in failing health it can add to her vulnerability,” said Mary Mason, director of Solace Women’s Aid, a London domestic violence service that has Equality and Human Rights Commission funding to develop a project for older women.
Four weeks after my 13th birthday, my dad killed my mum. He stabbed her in the chest 16 times using two bread knives. The murder was premeditated; he had brought the knives to the house with him earlier that day, and after he was arrested he confessed his intent.
That day I had come home ready to give my mum the fiver I had borrowed from her the week before. I was met by police officers. They didn’t say what was wrong. My friend two doors down came over and I knew by his reaction that something awful had happened.
Prominent national as well as local Muslim organizations, community leaders and activists, as well as Imams from across Canada are joining together today to issue a Call to Action to Eradicate Domestic Violence. This Call highlights six ways Canadian Muslims can intensify their efforts to abolish all forms of domestic violence. As a first step, it calls on Imams across Canada to draw attention to December 6, the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women by devoting their sermons on Friday December 9 to the issue.
The Effects of Domestic Violence
As Huda slowly gained consciousness on the floor, she became aware of her surroundings. She felt the cold tile beneath her and the taste of blood in her mouth. The thundering sound of her husband, yelling and cursing at her, became disturbingly clear and his menacing image slowly came into focus. Fear filled her heart that he may strike again. Her trembling body felt so weak, helpless and vulnerable. He ruthlessly kicked her in her gut one last, fatal blow. Huda was pronounced dead later that evening along with her baby girl who had survived 6 months of brutality in the womb.