Violated pensioners not reporting abuse

Violated pensioners not reporting abuseFile Photo. Clasped hands of an elderly person. Credit: Vinoth Chander/ Flickr

Elderly women who have been sexually abused in rural Limpopo are too afraid to report their cases to the police because they fear further victimisation from their perpetrators and humiliation from the community.

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This is according to a home-based caregiver in Tzaneen, who said authorities needed to curb the ongoing abuse in the area by cracking down on people who are targeting elderly women as soft targets.

“I know of old women who are sexually violated by their relatives and they don’t want to report it to the police. Some feel they will be humiliated and some think the perpetrators will hurt them even more. As a caregiver, I cannot do anything if the victim doesn’t want to report the case to the police, but I can encourage and advise them to report the case,” said the caregiver.

Rural awareness

“I think government should start an awareness campaign in mostly rural areas because this where most of such cases occur. These people must be assured that they will be protected. They must be made aware of their rights and be told how to report any abuse,” she said.

Spokesman for the South African Police Services (SAPS) in Limpopo, Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe, called on communities to prioritise the safety of elderly people.

“We had a number of reported incidents of rapes, murder and assault in several areas of the province. We are therefore encouraging members of the community to prioritise elderly care at all times,” said Ngoepe.

Earlier this month a 93-year-old woman was raped by unknown suspects in Leboweng outside Burgerfort. It is alleged that the victim was awakened by suspects who forcefully entered her house through the window.