Share Your Story and Stop Elder Abuse!

Most of us have either been affected by elder abuse or know someone who has.  It’s time to step out of the shadows!  You’re not alone and we’d love to hear your stories!  Please share your stories below, upload videos to Facebook.com/AAFLTV using #StopElderAbuse / #OppositeFairyTale, tweet your story to us @asamfilmlab using #StopElderAbuse / #OppositeFairyTale, or send us your written or taped story (please keep it to one or two minutes, max) at filmlabproductions@film-lab.org using a wetransfer or vimeo link!

 

Share Your Story and Fight Elder Abuse

Posted by Anonymous on
Sometimes, it's hard to intervene when family members are the ones making the wrong acts. You feel like maybe it's none of your business or maybe you're misunderstanding. That's hard. I feel like there should be more films like this and more education for us "regular" people who want to help but don't know what to do.
Posted by Larry Lee on
Most Asians do not believe that elder abuse exists in our communities. Emotional battering, psychological cruelty, financial exploitation and verbal violence are considered family conflicts. Marital rape is considered the oppressor’s prerogative. Most physical abuse is pardoned.

It is high time for Asians in America to discard the old-fashioned attitude of condoning mistreatment and abuse. It is high time for Asians in America to dump values of “saving face.” And, it is high time for Asian American communities to support survivors who make decisions in the interest of their own well-being over their families’ reputation. Survivors must be encouraged to seek help.

Asian Americans need to hold ourselves accountable – as a community. We must demystify elder abuse. We must establish clear boundaries of right and wrong. It is never acceptable to strike your spouse. It is never justifiable to yell and degrade older parents. There is no excuse for taking money and not repaying it. Caretakers cannot discipline their charges. We must, as a community, shame the abuser and make perpetrating abuse less and less tolerated. And, we must, more and more support our seniors.

This World Elder Abuse Awareness Day let us all commit to restoring safety, health, and harmony to our elders.

Larry Lee, Executive Director
New York Asian Women’s Center
Posted by Larry Lee on
A dutiful Korean daughter loves and protects her elderly parents but siphons money from their savings without remorse. For every year of uninterrupted mental and physical abuse she endured. For depriving her of sleep toward their obsession with her gaining entry to Seoul National University. For denying her food when puberty transformed her stick figure to womanly. For their humiliating laughter, taunting her with cries of “taegi” (Dweh ji) or “pig.” For pushing her into the plastic surgeon’s office at age 25 for fear she would otherwise not be beautiful enough to attract a husband – after all, she would effectively be “spoiled Christmas cake” after her next birthday.
Now, the discipline they instilled out of concern; the harshness they equated to “tough love”; and, the stress they fostered out of a sense of parental duty comes back to them.
But, as her parents’ verbal, emotional and psychological violence were not perceived as abusive, neither is her embezzlement – by her, her parents and man in the community.
Ask Asian communities’ members if they believe elder abuse is a problem. Most would say, “no” or “rarely.” The New York Asian Women’s Center believes that in New York City thousands of Asians experience elder abuse each year. The discrepancy is in the definition. Asians do not count emotional, psychological, financial or verbal abuse as abuse. Even physical violence is often discounted, considered justifiable.
When an Asian grows old, their world picture may change dramatically. The roles, responsibilities, and power dynamics alter between husband and wife. The sun begins to orbit the moon. Grandma becomes more important than grandpa. This may lead to conflict between husband and wife. But, how the conflict plays out – who abuses whom - might not follow traditional paths of elder abuse.
One of the few studies on older Asians indicates that about 6.5% of older Asian Americans reported being abused by “mild” physical violence in the last year. Most surprising, the percentage of older Asian men victims was almost as high as that of older Asian women victims. If that is confirmed, it would suggest for NYAWC that a deteriorated relationship precedes Asian elder abuse.
Despite the children loving their elderly parents, the children may hurt them - not physically but with words or silence; retaliate by limiting, punish by taking away choices, and even in the example cited, by spending the parent’s money. When Asians grow old they often become dependent on the children that used to depend on them. Now the discipline they instilled out of concern; the harshness they offered out of love; and, the stress they fostered out of duty may rebound. The things they thought they did to help their children may turn out to be the things the children hold against them. The abuse the daughter inflicts on her aging parents is a symptom of the long time deterioration of the still loving relationship. And the change in role – her parents’ dependency – reveals vulnerability, allowing for the “mild” forms of “family conflict” to be expressed.
Different from mainstream, one of the most common abuses of older Asians is carried out by in-laws. An older Asian may be abused by her or his mother-in-law or in retaliation by her or his daughter-in-law. Extended family-in-laws may also be abusive.
We are hoping to redefine elder abuse for older Asians and trying to provide a path to preventing and healing abuse. But, to be clear there is no excuse for elder abuse. And explanations are irrelevant if the abuser is crazy or suffering from dementia.
The conclusion NYAWC is drawing is that for Asians, elder abuse is a result of deterioration in relationships. That leads us to the obvious, easier said than done solution, to work to repair these relationships.

Larry Lee, Executive Director
New York Asian Women’s Center
Posted by admin on
My dad died in a nursing home. When he died, we saw he had big bed sores all over him. The staff never turned him. We neglected him to. I am sorry now. Is it to little to late?
Posted by Yoko Iwaki on
Please click here for a lot more stories about elders: http://storycorps.org/whcoa/

Elder abuse is now where domestic violence was 25 years ago. We need to create a vocabulary for it.
Posted by Jean on
My grandma was being abused by my uncle. I didn't know what to do. He was scary and insisted I stay out of things. I visited her about three times a week and would watch her endure the treatment over and over again. She refused to speak up. What could I do? What can a kid do?
I listened. I cared. I still care. And I'll never stop trying to change things
Posted by Shannon Ko on
Please be strong. I had no idea about Elder Abuse today and I am so sad now. I will do all that I can to bring awareness and relief. I love you and I pray the world will bring you relief and help soon.
Posted by Robb on
We love y'all! Prayers and support coming y'all's way! :)
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