Elder sexual abuse refers to physical or sexual contact with an elderly person, who is most of the time limited physically and psychologically to give consent. It doesn’t matter if the contact is minor or significant. As long as it is non consensual, it is considered sexual abuse. This means that sexual abuse can range from unwanted touching to downright rape.
Sexual abuse is one of the worst kinds of abuse an elderly can experience in a nursing home. What makes things worse is that some elders are not able to communicate that they are victims of sexual abuse because of their physical limitations or fear to their abusers, leaving them to suffer in silence.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Being the person who is not limited physically and mentally, you should be the one who is assertive toward the protection of your loved one against abusive bevariors in the nursing home. Below are physical traits that may signify that your loved one is experiencing sexual abuse.
Anal or genital issues such as irritation and bleeding
Injuries in the inner thighs or genital area such as bruises
Difficulty in sitting, standing, and walking
Sudden emergence of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
Aside from physical attributes, you should also observe your loved one’s overall behavior, because it can give signals that your loved one is experiencing sexual abuse. If the patient appears anxious or fearful whenever a certain person is near, he or she may be suffering some kind of abuse from that person. Also look for inappropriate sexual behaviors, suicide attempts, and withdrawal from social interaction.
It can be overwhelming to discover that your loved one is experiencing sexual abuse in the nursing home. It is painful. But it is much more painful to the elderly person who is already frail to begin with, but still suffers from the abusive behavior of the medical staff, resulting into physical, emotional, and psychological damages.