Quick Escape
Help Line 262-652-9900
Help Line (toll free) 800-853-3503
Administration 262-656-3500

kenosha, wi

Underserved Population

Domestic Abuse in Later Life

Women and Children’s Horizon’s has realized for some time that abuse in later life is a tragedy that impacts older adults of all races, cultures, sexual orientations, social classes, geographic areas, faith communities, mental capacities, and physical abilities. Abuse can be:

  • Physical
  • Sexual   
  • Psychological
  • Neglect
  • Abandonment   
  • Financial exploitation

Controlling relationships = Abusive relationships

When there is abuse, one person uses power and control to get what they want out of the relationship. The victim is not seen as an equal in the relationship. There may or may not be physical abuse in the relationship, but the threat of harm is always present.

Older adults often experience:

  • Shame
  • Pain   
  • Economic loss   
  • Spiritual anguish
  • Physical anguish
  • Institutionalization
  • Poor quality of life

The controlling person in your life may be:

  • Husband
  • Wife
  • Partner
  • Adult child
  • Roommate
  • Guardian
  • Caretaker
  • Sibling

Abusers can be very persuasive and manipulative individuals, often trying to convince family, friends and social workers that they are only trying to help. Abusive individuals rarely take responsibility for their actions.

Some tactics an abuser/controller may use to maintain control in the relationship:

  • Isolating victim
  • Limiting victim access to phone
  • Limiting access to assistive living devices
  • Limiting health care needs
  • Managing all the finances

If you feel you are deprived, isolated or punished call Beverly Sorensen at Women and Children’s Horizons for more information and support (262) 656-3500.

There is an Abuse in Later Life program that has a support group for women in mid-life or women with disabilities.

 

Sexual Violence in Later Life

Sexual violence is an act (verbal and/or physical), which violates a person’s trust and/or safety, and is sexual in nature. The term “sexual violence” includes:

  • Date/acquaintance rape
  • Partner rape
  • Caregiver sexual assault/abuse
  • Stranger rape
  • Incest
  • Child sexual abuse
  • Sexual harassment
  • Exposure
  • Voyeurism

Offenders

Perpetrators of sexual assault against older adults can be anyone. Often the offender is someone that the victim knows:

  • Spouse or partner
  • Adult child
  • Another family member
  • Acquaintance
  • Caregiver

  Effects of Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse can cause harmful, psychological, physical, and behavioral effects. If the sexual abuse is left unaddressed, these effects can potentially be very damaging to the individual. Some of the effects are:

  • Anxiety
  • Fear
  • Anger   
  • Withdrawal
  • Nightmares
  • Acting out

A victim’s recovery really begins when they first address the issue of the assault. You need not report the offense to law enforcement to receive services from Women and Children’s Horizons. The most important factors affecting a person’s recovery is feeling supported, safe, and realizing it’s not your fault. Please call Beverly Sorensen at Women and Children’s Horizons (262) 656-3500 for more information.

People with Disabilities

Domestic Violence

People with disabilities are vulnerable to the types of physical, sexual, emotional and financial abuse experienced by people without disabilities

Some additional types of abuse:

  • Being handled roughly during a transfer
  • Having to have sex in return for help
  • Threatening institutionalization
  • Threatening abandonment
  • Withholding food and medicine
  • Putting needed equipment out of reach
  • Isolating

Abusers:

  • Spouse/partner
  • Family member
  • Personal caregiver
  • Friend or neighbor
  • Health care system

YOU DO NOT DESERVE TO BE THREATENED OR HIT!

Try to prepare as much as you can before an explosive incident by:

  • Thinking ahead  about who you could have as an emergency caretaker
  • If you are unable to leave think of ways to position yourself where shouting may attract attention (near partially opened windows or wall attached to another apartment or building)
  • Roll your wheelchair into the person as hard and fast as you can
  • Hurt the soft parts of an attacker’s body
  • Have  spare medication, medical supplies, clothes, etc… ready
  • Plan ahead where you will go. Talk to a trusted person that can help you
  • Have a code word to use with trusted individuals to communicate you need the police

People with disabilities have the right to be free from abuse. If you feel you are deprived, isolated, or punished call Women and Children’s Horizon to talk to an advocate. People with disabilities are more likely to be abused for a longer duration and usually by more than one person. Help is offered through crisis counseling, hotline crisis calls, support groups, emergency shelter, and accompanying   clients through legal proceeding as it relates to abuse.

 Sexual Assault

Sexual violence is an act (verbal and or physical, which violates a person’s trust and/or safety, and is sexual in nature.  Sexual contact becomes assault when a person is unable to consent to an activity, does not consent, and/or when a service provider engages in sexual contact with a client.

People with disabilities experience similar forms of overt and covert sexual assault and abuse as people without disabilities (e.g., rape, incest, forced, unwanted or disguised touching, exposure to or making pornography, sexual harassment, sexual trafficking, unwanted sexual jokes, or innuendoes, and any other unwanted sexual contact or activity).  All sexual assault victims experience difficulties with trust, safety and relationships.

People with disabilities may have high risk factors for:

  • Desensitization to touch if they experience regular help with personal  care like bathing, and dressing
  • Not knowing whether or not they can say no to painful or confusing touches related to sexual abuse
  • Not knowing where to go for help

Abuse is never a victims fault. If you feel you have been violated Women and Children’s Horizons offers free and confidential services, such as:

  • 24-hour crisis line
  • 24-hour advocate response to hospitals and law enforcement agencies
  • Legal advocacy and restraining orders
  • Referrals to community resources
  • Emergency shelter

 Women and Children’s Horizons emergency shelter is wheelchair accessible, and has an accessible bedroom with accessible bathroom. Caretakers are allowed to visit to take care of your needs.

To explore your options and get emotional support please call Beverly Sorensen during office hours at (262)656-3500. Office hours are from 8:30am to 5:00pm.For after office hours call the crisis line at (262)652-9900 or 1-(800)-853-3503.

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