SAN ANTONIO -- Domestic violence is harming a growing number of older victims and the Battered Women and Children’s Shelter needs more space to help this growing demographic.
In the past two years, the shelter has seen an increase, of 10 to 12 percent, in the number of people seeking help who are 50 years or older.
There are many other sad stories of people needing a safe haven, like an elderly woman who was abused by her own adult daughter or the many women beaten by a spouse.
"I was hit several times. I was stabbed with a knife in the chest," confessed Margarita Sanchez.
Married just a year, Sanchez admits her husband became violent very soon after their ceremony.
“ 280 pounds on top of me with a knife. I never thought that I would be able to get away."
In 2011, she says she was pinned to the floor in their home and managed to get up.
Sanchez said she convinced her husband to take her to a hospital for treatment.
He agreed, she insisted, as long as she did not tell anyone at the hospital about the abuse.
But, she immediately told a nurse and soon after that police arrested her spouse, who is now in prison.
"I feel safe," she sighed.
Sanchez found safety at the Battered Womens and Childrens’ Shelter.
Marta Pelaez, CEO of Family Violence Prevention, Inc., said a growing number of older abuse victims, some with health concerns, are coming to the safe haven and require space separate from families.
Through donations, the emergency shelter plans to build more dormitories for older abuse victims. The plans include space for pets. Pelaez stated many victims stay and endure abuse to avoid losing a pet.
"Every time I have the opportunity to help yet another person, It's a very exciting prospect," said Pelaez.
Margarita Sanchez escaped her abuse with one thing: her life.
The cuts on her fingers left her with nerve damage. But, workers provided therapy and legal assistance to help with her mental and physical healing.
She moved on and urges others to get away from domestic abuse.
"We always think in our minds, it's going to get better. We will work it out. It's not gonna get better,” Sanchez lamented.