Some abuse just isn’t talked about

Stuff 17 May 2014
Their friends always thought they were a marvellous couple. But nobody knows what really goes on inside a marriage – and after they retired, things at home got really bad.

>> SPECIAL REPORT: Elder abuse

She’d always had a quick temper, but as they both began to grow older, she became violent.

“When you’re married you accept that sort of thing – up to a certain stage,” he says. “She’d be good as gold one day, and the next day – bang.

“How can you understand that?”

His face lost colour, and he developed depression. Several times, he thought about doing himself in – it would be easier than talking about it. He avoided his friends, and lost so much weight that they thought he had cancer. But he lied to his mates and he lied to his family.

He lied to his GP about what was causing his bruises and scratches, saying he kept bumping into walls – even while he grew more withdrawn and frail. Better that, than to admit what was really going on, which is that his wife abused him with her words, her nails, and her fists, and had been doing so for years.