Thankfully, the #MeToo movement brought to light the prevalence of sexual abuse in our society.
Many people focus on one dynamic alone — that of powerful men who used their positions to prey on younger women. The national dialogue highlighted how those starting out in their careers were particularly vulnerable to men in positions of authority. Those young women were able to come forward, to speak out and gain attention for their cause.
As a result, many men lost their positions of trust. In these cases, careers ended, reputations were ruined and fortunes were lost.
Elderly women will not be so lucky. It is unlikely they will ever be the champions of their own cause.
Statistics on Elder Sexual Abuse
What society hasn’t discussed is the shocking statistics on the abuse of older women. The extent is unknown because so few of the cases are reported. Only about 30 percent of elderly abuse victims go to the authorities.
Older women are six times more likely to be victims of abuse.
A supervised setting such as nursing home isn’t a deterrent, as 84 percent of elder abuse happens to those living in a care center. Shockingly, 80 percent of the time, the abuse was perpetrated by a caregiver. More than 75 percent of victims say their abuse was witnessed by another. Still, the crimes go unreported.
Cognitive decline plays a significant role as victims are not always helpful in the investigation and prosecution of their abuse. According to the Nursing Home Abuse Center, about 5.1 million elderly have some degree of dementia. By age 85, the figure jumps will jump to nearly half of all people.
It isn’t simply care center workers who are preying on these vulnerable women. Family members are the perpetrators of sexual abuse in more than half the cases. This means many elderly women must choose between reporting the crime and losing their financial support or the care they receive.
It seems growing old is no protection from becoming a target. Please remember to speak up about elderly abuse victims as they have no voice.