ABUSE of the elderly will be brought to the forefront this Friday for the seventh annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, aimed at raising awareness of the often forgotten mistreatment of the elderly.
According to the World Health Organisation, 5 per cent of seniors are experiencing some form of intentional and non-intentional abuse.
A new book looks into the effects of elder mistreatment and reveals links between emotional abuse and elder abuse.
The Detrimental Effects of Emotional Abuse by Canadian researcher Gunta Krumins is the first of its kind, exploring emotional abuse in a way never previously attempted.
“[It] is the first comprehensive, non-clinical and educational guide exposing emotional abuse as the foundation of all types of abuse,” Gunta said.
“Explaining how to detect, expose and fight emotional abuse, the book ultimately creates a blueprint for stopping the cycle in our homes and communities.”
Elder abuse is known as a ‘hidden crime’ with 4 out of 5 cases unreported in Canada alone, according to the Ontario Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse.
An abuser can be family member, friend or paid caregiver and the abuse can be physical, financial, psychological or neglect.
The book details how victims can identify an emotional abuser, the different levels of emotional abuse, as well as how to deal with the abuser.
Gunta also bases part of her book on a period of four years in her own life when she herself experienced an emotionally abusive situation, where colleagues bullied, intimidated, harassed, isolated, and publicly humiliated her as well as orchestrated smear campaigns against her.
“I was quite aware of what was going on around me because I was walking around and getting the complete picture because I wasn’t trapped in a home.”
“I realised that I was getting an advantage that an elder didn’t have, I wasn’t in denial and they aren’t in denial – they just don’t know what’s happening to them.”
Gunta says emotional abuse victims will experience a lack of security and happiness.
They will feel as if they are constantly being watched carefully, and that nothing they do is ever good enough for the abuser.
Gunta wants victims of emotional abuse to know that it’s not their fault when they find themselves in an emotionally abusive situation, and family members who are trying to help need to be careful they don’t become part of the abuser’s plan to help victimize the victim.
She also emphasises that the perpetrator knows what he or she is doing and is not mentally ill or on drugs, as some have previously believed.
“Emotional Abusers are master manipulators who know how to set a victim up, get control of them and keep this control over the situation without anyone being aware.”
“They are ‘silent monsters’ who take advantage of people who have put their trust in them and what they do to keep control over them is convoluted, intentional and calculated.”
“They operate with a hidden agenda and they accumulate accomplices to help them victimize the victim and their biggest fear is exposure.”
The author says the only way to move forward and help victims of elder abuse is to completely understand emotional abuse as it is the foundation for all other forms of abuse, including elder abuse.
“In Canada alone it’s still not known how to detect it, how to manage it and how to fight it. Without that knowledge nothing can go forward,” Gunta said.
“This information that I have on emotional abuse will open up the possibility to understand what’s going on with elder abuse.”
“Only then we have ability to go forward and help them.”
To find out more details about events around Australia and around the world on the day, visit http://www.seniorsrights.org.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=37&Itemid=15
To buy a copy of The Detrimental Effects of Emotional Abuse, visit http://bookstore.authorhouse.com/Products/SKU-000512959/The-Detrimental-Effects-of-Emotional-Abuse.aspx
Published on June 14, 2012 at www.ourworldtoday.com.au