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The Sexual Assault Case of 96-Year-Old Miss Mary

TheSexual Assault Case of 96-Year-Old Miss Mary

TheSexual Assault Case of 96-Year-Old Miss Mary

Reactionto the case

Itis shocking to see that a person can assault such a weak familymember causing them severe physical injuries. Billy subjected Mary tosystematic abuse including neglect, forced servitude, and financialexploitation instead of taking care of her (Bosch,2012).After the attack, Mary was placed in a nursing home because herfamily refused to believe and support her. Besides, Mary is an oldwoman who cannot defend herself except endure the exploitation andassault from her grandson. It is outrageous that Mary was offeringBilly financial help such as paying the mortgage, and yet heassaulted her instead of taking care of Mary and appreciating theassistance (Bosch,2012).Fortunately, sexual assault advocates offered Miss Mary emotionalsupport during the trial and throughout the rest of her life.

Challengesas a victim advocate

However,addressing cases similar to that of Mary can present severalchallenges. First, the advocate may lose the victim at any time dueto old age or other age-related conditions. The aged victim may bethe only witness, and if he or she dies or withdraws the testimony,the case cannot continue. The family members may pressure the victimsto discourage them from testifying or convince them that the assaultdid not take place. On the other hand, they may testify for thedefense to prove that the victim has some mental problems that causehallucinations and he or she is a liar. For example, in Miss Mary’scase, her relatives testified that she was mentally unstable and wasprepared to do anything to stay out of the nursing home includingmaking false accusations (Bosch,2012).The trial can also take an extended period because it may bedifficult to collect medical evidence from an older victim.Additionally, the family members testifying for the defense result ina large number of witnesses, which may further prolong the trial.

Thenagain, the jury is usually unwilling to accept that cases of sexualassault against the elderly are common and mainly perpetrated byrelatives or people close to the victims. Therefore, they mayconsider the victim unreliable, especially if he or she is the solewitness for the prosecution. The defense can also take advantage of avictim’s age-related problems such as hearing or sight problems toshow that he or she confused or that the assault did not occur. Forexample, in Mary’s case, her advocate had to move closer andincrease her voice to ensure that Mary could hear everything (Bosch,2012).On the contrary, the defense moved further away from the victim tomake her look incompetent and prove that she was unreliable. It isalso challenging to alter the justice system and make it flexibleenough to adapt to the needs of the victims. For example, Maryrequired regular breaks to take oxygen and if her needs wereneglected it would result in severe consequences.

Workingwith older victims who do not want to report the abuse

Lastly,many older adults are subjected to emotional, sexual, or physicalassault by people close to them. Nonetheless, they rarely report theabuse mainly due to shame and fear of further victimization. It iscrucial for the advocate to let the victims heal so that they canface their assailants. It is also necessarily to support the victimsand make them trust the lawyer. For example, as an advocate, I couldspend time with the victims and get to know them so that they can bemore comfortable around me. Moreover, I would change my perspectiveto view the circumstances of the assault from an older person’sviewpoint. An advocate should consider the personal needs of thevictim such as providing a safe and quite place to give the testimonyto avoid overwhelming them. Therefore, the success of the wholeprocess depends on the advocate’s willingness and capability topromote trust and consider the victim’s emotional, physical, andhealth needs.


BoschVanden J., director. (2012). Hewouldn’t turn me loose: TheSexual Assault Case of 96-Year-Old Miss Mary.UnitedStates: National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life &amp TerraNova Films.