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As a result there is paucity of information on the incidence and characteristics of sexual victimisation of the elderly and of the resulting psychological effects.' ON the face of it, the rape of the elderly should have merited more attention because it is a particularly violent crime.
Between 60 and 70 per cent of all reported rapes are acquaintance rape, where the attacker is known to the victim.
She believes that the lack of interest in this crime reflects society's attitudes to old people and sex.
'We can't cope with old people having sex, so we can't cope with abusive sex,' she says.
In the mid-Eighties, Maggie Foggarty, then a researcher for Getting On, Central Television's series for older viewers, tried to make a programme on the subject.
There is no research, there are no studies of the after-effects of rape among elderly women.
But the rapes of elderly women usually follow a scenario where a young man forcibly enters the woman's home, threatens or carries out physical violence, steals money or jewellery and leaves her where she may not be found for hours, or even days if she lives alone.
For the victim, the physical assault can be especially devastating.
LATE last November, an 84-year-old widow was asleep in an armchair in her house in Camden, north London, when a man broke in.
He threatened her with a carving knife, then beat and raped her.
We may imagine that the rape of elderly women is a rare, horrible and peculiarly unnatural crime, but it is not.