When a parent or grandparent can no longer care for themselves, you may have to make the difficult decision of seeking assistance from a nursing home. The situation becomes devastating when you discover your loved one has been sexually abused.
If you’ve put your trust into a professional nursing home staff only to have that trust shattered, it’s imperative to understand that you did nothing wrong. Our firm has supported devastated families whose guilt has stalled healing. Blame may cloud your head, but be assured – you are not at fault.
This article aims to bring awareness to elderly sexual abuse. There are 5 signs you can look for to determine if the senior in your life has been abused.
Read on to learn what you should do when your loved one has been victimized.
Elderly Sexual Abuse
Whether it is unwanted touching, forced nudity, sexual photography or rape, all forms of elder sexual abuse are equally heartbreaking and inexcusable. Nursing homes, and the government officials overseeing them, frequently do the bare minimum – and sometimes nothing at all – to stop the abuse from taking place.
CNN exposed in a brave article that sexual abuse survivors and their family members were regularly treated unfairly, with allegations rarely investigated, or investigated slowly, in an attempt to cover them up.
5 Signs of Elderly Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes
You can help your loved one by looking for one or all of these indicators that elderly sexual abuse may have occured:
- Bruises in regions that include genital areas, thighs and breasts
- Torn or stained clothing, as well as the presence of blood
- Depression, withdraw, anxiety, fear or agitation – particularly towards a caregiver
- Unexplained STDs, infections and vaginal bleeding
- Difficulty in walking, sleeping or sitting
There may be other signs of sexual abuse; by paying attention to any sudden physical or emotional changes are reasons to start any conversation about the care your senior is receiving.
Abusers often prey on nursing home residents because they are “vulnerable” and “easy targets.” Residents are usually physically or mentally disabled patients, who struggle to physically defend themselves or speak out. Women and patients older in age are at a higher risk for abuse, as well as those suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s, because of the effects of memory impairments and confusion.
Sadly, only 30 percent of survivors of elderly sexual abuse report the attack to authorities (NursingHomeAbuseGuide.org).
And while not all nursing homes are prone for attacks and abuse, the problem still exists. What can be done to fix it?
What Needs to Change
Elder sex abuse is an issue is often left out of sexual assault discussion, but it is frighteningly widespread. NursingHomeAbuseGuide.org has revealed that 70 percent of reported elder sexual abuse occurs in nursing homes.
This is not acceptable.
For more awareness to be brought to this growing epidemic, more people need to have a conversation about it. Though a heavy subject matter, it’s imperative for family members to report any elderly abuse to the authorities. Even if a nursing home has its own policy for dealing with such a grave situation, the police should be contacted to ensure the accusations aren’t taken lightly. Sexual abuse is a crime. Some abusers convicted for rape have been punished with life in prison.
Help everyone involved in the care of your loved one understand signs of sexual abuse by engaging in an open conversation about the topic of sexual abuse with the nursing home staff. Actively look for warning signs of abuse.
If you believe your parent, grandparent, relative or family friend was sexually abused, then speak out. Make a formal police report and contact an attorney.
Fight for Justice
No one should have to tolerate sexual assault. Your loved ones may not be able to defend themselves, but you can be their voice – help them fight for justice.
Contact the attorneys at Deitch + Rogers LLC today by calling (770) 394-9000. Learn about your rights, the rights of the elderly, and how we can help you and your family move forward. Sexual abuse in nursing homes must stop here.