Why is Sexual Abuse of the Elderly Underreported?
According to the National Institute for Justice, sexual abuse of the elderly is the least reported and least studied form of elder abuse. In a Marquette University Law School report titled, “Grandparent Molesting: Sexual Abuse of Elderly Nursing Home Residents and Its Prevention,” sexual abuse of the elderly is the most underreported and undetected form of abuse in nursing homes. The study claims that there are several reasons for this lack of reporting. First, many elderly residents in nursing homes who were sexually abused are afraid of being retaliated against for reporting the abuse. In some cases, elderly victims fear that they will be asked to leave the facility. The perpetrators of the abuse often increase these fears by threatening such actions. Second, many elderly sexual abuse victims are embarrassed and ashamed about what happened to them. Studies have found that elderly men are more likely to feel this way, and victims who are higher in age were more likely to view their abuse as a source of embarrassment. Finally, many elderly victims suffer from impaired cognition, such as dementia or