This Saturday, 11/14/09, we will be headed out to the ninth annual Caregivers Symposium, Help is Here- Navigating through Stormy Times. This symposium is put on by the Rappahannock Area Council on Aging. You might wonder at first what RCASA- an agency against sexual assault- is doing there?
Sexual Assault does not just affect any one age group. Our aging population is actually more vulnerable than anyone may like to think. Some of the reasons that our seniors are more vulnerable to sexual abuse are: physical disabilities, cognitive disabilities, limited mobility, limited social interaction, and isolation. Older persons may also be perceived as easy to overpower and manipulate. They are less likely to report abuse due to the dependency on others, use of threats about nursing home placement to keep the victim silent, or generational beliefs about sex and morality that create feelings of shame and guilt.
Elder victims rarely report sexual abuse. Sexual abuse is generally a private crime—only the victim and perpetrator are present. If the victim does not come forward, the perpetrator certainly won’t, and the abuse is not recognized or treated. They also may simply not know that what is happening to them is sexual assault.
Elder sexual assault is any situations in which a person over the age of 60 is forced, tricked, coerced, or manipulated into unwanted sexual contact, or where the elder cannot consent due to incapacitation. As in all violence, the perpetrator seeks power and control.
We here at RCASA will be there to raise awareness of the problem, the warning signs, and the resources available to the victims. We are dedicated to serving all victims of sexual assault, especially those who are most vulnerable!