The problem with elder abuse is that few people know it exists, and even fewer people can recognize the signs it leaves behind, local researcher Sushil Jain says.
Around 50 people attended a private viewing Sunday afternoon of the locally produced documentary “Izzat: Breaking the Silence on Elder Abuse,” coinciding with the United Nations’ recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.
Jain, president of the South Asian Centre of Windsor, said not nearly enough people are aware of the emotional, physical and psychological abuse elders experience in families and communities around the world. “We’re trying to send the message that elder abuse exists in many, many cultures, and other places, but it is the awareness that’s lacking. So we’re trying to ensure that awareness of elder abuse is given to the public,” he said.
“You have to make people aware of this. If they don’t know what abuse is, they will never be able to stop it. We are making them aware that now that these elders are here, that they should be respected as an individual, as their own people.”
Jain said Sunday officially marked one year since the production was initially announced. The organization received a grant from the federal government for the production, and sought volunteers from within and outside the community to participate in the filmmaking.
The film is directed by Amanda Gellman, president of Windsor’s MANAN Strategy Consultants, and features interviews with local psychologists, police officers and professionals in the area of elder abuse. Jain said a community-wide effort is necessary to protect elders against not only physical harm, but emotional and psychological trauma as well.
Jain said the South Asian Centre will host public viewings of the 32-minute documentary in the next month, but dates haven’t been determined.
~ Michelle Mark, Windsor Star