pamcare logo
Keeping You Well At Home

April 2023: Sexual Assault Awareness Month

As April 2023 is Sexual Assault Awareness month, it is especially important to keep in mind that unfortunately, these cases do occur within senior communities. Seniors are a largely underserved group, and often times underrepresented & hardly advocated for in situations of sexual assault. The goal of Sexual Assault Awareness Month is to draw public attention to acts of sexual violence, and educate & engage communities in prevention methods.

With a better understanding of the definition of sexual assault, individuals can better recognize the signs & patterns, and quickly report them to provide relief to those affected. Sexual assault is a term used to encompass the many different kinds of sexually violent acts that include: Unwanted sexual contact of any form, Sexual Harassment, Molestation, Incest, Rape, Child Sexual Abuse, Sexual violence – even with intimate partners – Sexual Exploitation, Voyeurism, and Human Trafficking. With this broad range of categories, the statistics for those who have experienced some form of assault are devastatingly high. Every 98 seconds, a United States citizen is sexually assaulted. The majority of assault cases occur at or near the individual’s home, and more often than not by someone they know or trust. 72% of elder assault cases occur within private homes, while 23% occur in facilities and nearly 5% in other locations. Elder sexual assault is largely underreported, and survivors are often hesitant to seek help.

In order to help decrease the amount of cases that go unnoticed, and the amount of survivors that require assistance, everyone should be aware of the signs of sexual abuse. Typical signs of sexual abuse can include: sustained pelvic injuries, problems walking or sitting, developing a sexually transmitted infection (STI), torn/bloody/stained underwear, bruised inner thighs or genitalia, anal or genital bleeding and/or irritation, panic attacks, signs of PTSD, social or emotional withdrawal, engagement in inappropriate or unusual sexually aggressive activities, suicide attempts, and engagement in unusual/inappropriate actions appearing to be from a sex role relationship between the perpetrator and the survivor of the abuse. If any of the signs are noticed and it is suspected that someone has been abused, the incident should be reported immediately to Adult Protective Services. You can also report the abuse anonymously to the Safe Helpline (1-800-656-4673) available 24/7.

To keep our community safe, we should remain vigilant and be aware of the factors that may indicate sexual assault. While it is important that these cases are reported and resolved as soon as possible, we must always handle them with extreme care & prioritize the safety, confidentiality, and comfort of the survivor.

Mt. “Recognizing Elderly Survivors This Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Vantage Aging.” VANTAGE Aging, 27 Apr. 2021,
“Lifespan: Sexual Violence against Adults in Later Life.” National Sexual Violence Resource Center,