Domestic violence against an intimate partner is not confined to younger women. A recent study found more than 25 percent of women older than 65 had been a victim of abuse by a spouse or other intimate partner.
Researchers from Ohio State University said that abuse included physical, sexual or psychological violence.
In a survey of 370 women in two western states, researchers found about 18 percent had experienced sexual abuse or physical abuse, and 22 percent had been victimized by nonphysical abuse, which included being threatened, being called names, or having their behavior controlled.
Abuse lasted anywhere from three to 10 years. In addition, when the women were asked to rate the severity of the abuse they suffered about 60 percent of the victims of physical violence and 71 percent of the victims of psychological abuse rated the abuse as severe.
About 3.5 percent of the women surveyed had suffered violence in the past five years, and 2.2 percent in the past year.
"Intimate partner violence is not a problem only for younger women," Amy Bonomi, lead author of the study and associate professor of human development and family science at Ohio State University, wrote in a statement.
Results of the study is published in the February 2007 issue of The Gerontologist