Sexual Abuse on Elders

Elder sexual abuse can be misunderstood and is understudied. It is often the case that the victims of these horrific acts have frequent medical conditions that cause confusion, problems with communication, and memory loss. It can take on different forms such as showing an elderly person pornographic material, making the elderly person watch a sexual act, forcing the elderly person to disrobe, or any other type of as any unwanted sexual conduct or contact.

There are several factors that you should be on the lookout for when visiting your loved ones in their assisted living facility or nursing home. By no means are these the only indications that there is potentially elder sexual abuse taking place:

  • Unexplained and new pelvic injuries
  • If the elderly patient has bruising on their inner thighs or near the genital area
  • If they exhibit new signs of a difficulty with walking
  • If they exhibit new signs of difficulty in sitting
  • Newly emerged sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
  • Torn, stained, or bloody underwear
  • Signs of post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms
  • Agitation
  • Anal irritation or bleeding
  • If they become withdrawn from their normal social interactions
  • They start to display aggressive, inappropriate, or unusual sexual behavior
  • Suicide attempts

One of the foremost leaders on the study of sexual abuse in the elder is the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR). In looking at their most recent study they have found that only 30% of people over the age of 65, report that they have been sexually abused. The study also found that woman have a 600% greater chance of being the victim of sexual abuse as an elderly person. Out of all of the elderly sexual abuse cases it is estimated that 83.3% of the victims live in a nursing home or assisted living facility. Of all of the reported elderly sexual abuse cases, 81% of the perpetrators were the actual caregiver of the victim.