Sr. Bonnie Boilini, PHJC, JD presented a lecture entitled “Breaking the Silence: Elder Abuse, It Must Stop” as a part of the college's Lampen Lecture series Wednesday, April 22nd. Sr. Bonnie wanted bring awareness to the alarming prevalence of elder abuse in the United States. While many cultures revere the elderly in their community, too often older Americans are taken advantage of emotionally, physically, and financially by strangers and relatives alike. Sr. Bonnie is an attorney in Chicago who advocates for elders in abusive situations and she shared many of the cases she’s worked.
“Sr. Bonnie’s hands on experience as a court appointed Guardian ad Litem, a licensed attorney who investigates reports of abuse, brought to light how real this is in our own surroundings. Sister called us to be watchful for signs of abuse, to have the courage to report suspected abuse, and to return to a culture of respect and care for our ‘wisdom people’” said Sister Jolise May, vice-president of mission integration at Ancilla College.
Many audience members were stunned by the sheer number of cases in Indiana alone and especially by the lack of case workers for Adult Protective Services. Audience members were encouraged to call 2-1-1 in any suspected cases of abuse. This hotline allows for anonymous reporting and will take the next steps for investigation.
Sam Soliman, sociology instructor, commented, “This was one of the hardest Lampen Lectures to sit through because of the disturbing nature of these abuses.” He was not alone in that sentiment. Sr. Bonnie certainly opened the eyes for all present at the need of awareness and discussions surrounding this topic.