He Wouldn’t Turn Me Loose: The Sexual Abuse Case of 96-Year-Old Miss Mary
by Terra Nova Films
This video provides an intimate look into the traumatic story of Mary, an elderly woman abused by her adult grandson. As she bravely speaks about her experience, you’ll learn about the dynamics of elder abuse from advocates and professionals who worked with and supported Mary.
Bearing witness to the incomprehensible is often the role of mental health professionals. Mary, 96, was financially, emotionally, physically, and sexually abused by her adult grandson. The first step for Mary’s lawyers in court was to convince the jury that such a horrendous act was possible, while the social workers and mental health professionals worked to form a relationship and create a safe space for her to tell her story.

Domestic abuse in later life is not discussed as often as intimate partner violence, but the pattern of abuse remains the same. In this video, the sexual abuse advocates who worked with Mary encourage the viewer to see underneath beyond the horror of the abuse of an elderly woman to the familiar domestic violence dynamic of power and control.

Social workers and mental health professionals will also learn about the role they can play with a client who is involved in the legal system. Developing trust with Mary is extremely challenging, as she has lived through the trauma of family abandonment, but it is absolutely essential that the mental health workers manage to do create this trust in order to effectively support her. It’s extraordinary to see Mary’s strength as she enters yet one more system that seeks to disempower her, but to also observe the supporters who continue to empower her by fighting by her side.

Through the eyes of Mary as well as her support team, this video can help mental health professionals better understand the systemic issues involved in elder domestic abuse.