One form of nursing home abuse is that of sexual abuse and/or sexual assault. Like sexual abuse and sexual assault that happens throughout the greater Chicago area at large, these acts can have devastating, long-term physical, mental, and emotional impacts. In nursing homes (as well as at assisted living facilities, hospitals, etc.) these sexual abuse and sexual assault incidents are likely (very) underreported, much like it is in the rest of society.
What makes sexual abuse and sexual assault particularly insidious at nursing homes is that nursing home residents are often unable to physically protect themselves from these acts, and thus are vulnerable. As well, they may not be able to easily report such sexual abuse and sexual assaults.
One of the challenges regarding sexual abuse and sexual assault is that the terms lack a standard definition. As well, many different acts can be considered sexual abuse and sexual assault.
The list of sexual abuse and sexual assault acts is expansive. On this site there are various posts regarding nursing home sexual abuse and sexual assault. Here are various actions which can fall under the nursing home sexual abuse and nursing home sexual assault category:
- Inappropriate kissing
- Inappropriate touching or fondling
- People exposing themselves
- Rape (sexual assault)
- Sexual torture
- Sexual threats
- Performance of lewd acts
- Displays of pornography
In addition to the above acts of sexual assault and sexual abuse, there can also be sexual harassment, which can also take many forms.
Phyical signs that a nursing home resident has been possibly sexual abused and/or sexual assaulted are numerous, and can include the following:
- Vaginal tearing
- Vaginal bleeding
- Rectal tearing
- Rectal bleeding
- Swelling on or near sexual organs
- Getting a sexually transmitted disease (STD)
- Pelvic injury
Behavioral signs that indicate that sexual abuse or sexual assault may have occurred include:
- Emotional withdrawal
- Panic attacks
- Sleep disturbances
Given the frequency of sexual abuse and sexual assault, any nursing home resident complaints of such activity should be taken very seriously and be promptly and appropriately acted upon.
In addition to reporting such suspected sexual abuse and sexual assaults to nursing home administrators, it is imperative that such suspected incidents are separately reported to the local police department.
As well, a personal injury lawyer that handles nursing home abuse should also be contacted as soon as possible, as there may be recommended legal actions that should be promptly acted upon.