Sexual abuse of the elderly is rarely mentioned and very misunderstood. For many seniors, sexual abuse occurs without their consent. It is quite often happening without their knowledge. Many seniors who are sexually abused have Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. Sexual abuse is any kind of sexual touching or activity without the other person’s consent or through coercion or force.
Sexual abuse can include:
- Making sexual remarks or suggestions.
- Fondling or inappropriate touching.
- Forced intercourse/rape.
- Taking sexually explicit photographs.
What are the signs of senior sexual abuse?
- Inappropriate and sexual comments.
- Difficulty in walking or sitting. The senior may also stand in an awkward way.
- Unexplained genital infections or venereal diseases.
- Bruising around the thighs, genitals or breast areas.
Many seniors who are sexually abused are unable to give their consent due to emotional problems. Often a service providers or caregivers are perpetrators of the abuse. It can be difficult to identify because of the shame and embarrassment felt by those who are abused. Sometimes sexual abuse occurs concurrently with neglect. Neglect of a senior is when their basic needs are not met. This could be intentionally, when necessities are withheld for a certain reason or for personal gain. At other times it is passive. This is due to lack of knowledge, laziness or just not caring.
Under these circumstances, a caregiver could possibly sexually abuse the senior who they are supposed to be looking after. Look for seniors who are left alone. They could be in unsafe areas or are abandoned to care for themselves. Sexually abused seniors may also appear dirty and lack proper clothing. Any denial of an elderly person’s rights is abuse, whether it is financial, emotional, physical or sexual. Learn the signs of abuse in the elderly and if you suspect that a loved one or friend is being abused, contact the proper authorities.