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Need legal advice... and maybe a guy named Guido...

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
This sounds funny -- but it isn't, not at all. Quick backstory:

My Uncle Ray was the second-born of twins, and may have been deprived of oxygen for a few minutes. He is of low-normal intelligence, and suffered shell-shock (what we now call Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) in WWII... as well as the death of his twin brother.

As a result, he has always been extremely timid. Not shy -- he loves to talk to people, and he's funny and sweet. But he's terrified of conflict and confrontation. Even a simple family argument causes Uncle Ray to quietly slip out of the room and hide away somewhere.

Uncle Ray never dated, never married... just lived at home, worked a factory job, and took care of his mother until she died in 1992. Family members set him up with a tiny apartment in a senior center, and he lived quietly for several years.

Then, at the age of 79, he met a girl.

A woman, actually, about ten years younger, also a resident of the senior center. For the first time in his life, Uncle Ray was in love, and he was acting like a teenager in all the worst ways -- isolating himself from his family and letting his obsession with this woman completely control his life.

He had always made an annual trip to Texas to visit us, and he did so shortly after he and this woman became a couple. While he was here, she sold all his belongings, moved him into her apartment, and canceled his lease on his own place. When family members discovered this, Uncle Ray could only look down at the floor and say, "It's okay with me." But many of the things she had sold were keepsakes from his beloved mother, and we all knew he was only protecting this woman.

And so it has gone for years, this woman running his life, keeping him almost entirely incommunicado -- and Uncle Ray is simply too weak a personality to prevent it. Family members have talked to him about it, and he admits he's unhappy, but says, "I can't leave her, I love her."

Anyway, now all of a sudden we find out this woman is beating him. A neighbor heard what was going on and called the police, who came out and did the full domestic abuse routine -- but the next day, this woman simply moved them both to another apartment in another town.

As you can imagine, we are all livid about this. I want to get on a plane and go up there and explain things to this woman myself. I want to talk sense into Uncle Ray, get him out of there, and move him in with my cousin and her family, who would love to have him.

But there are family members back there who have better legal standing to handle it simply by virtue of residence, so it really needs to at least start with them. The trouble is, none of them is stepping up -- so I want to figure out what ought to be done, lay out a plan of action, and present it to them.

Does anyone know what can be done? It's a classic domestic abuse situation, except that it's a fragile 84-year-old man getting slapped around by his younger live-in girlfriend. And he has the abused-spouse's classic lack of will to get himself out of the situation.

Please... any ideas? I almost want to hire some tough guy to just go have a menacing chat with her... "If Uncle Ray gets so much as a hangnail, you'll be brought up on charges," that sort of thing.

post #2 of 7
That's horrible....I really hope something can be done.

Can you contact any domestic abuse organizations in the area? Perhaps they can lead you in the right direction and under the state's law on what to do.

As far as I know of domestic abuse, the police can't legally do anything unless he presses charges against her. Once he does, then I know that a lot more can be done to help him. However since he isn't, things may get trickier.

Good luck!!
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
That's a good thought, thank you -- I'll check the net right now for organizations. As for pressing charges... I know there are some states now in which the victim doesn't have to do that, or even approve of it -- the state itself presses charges. Whether Ohio is one of those enlightened places, I don't know... but I'll find out. Thank you! Good start!
post #4 of 7
Unfortunately if he still has his full mental capacity, he's an adult and can make his own decisions. And if that means he is staying in an abusive relationship, there is really nothing that you can do about it. It has to be him to press the charges, move out and stay away from her. And he clearly doesn't want to do that.
post #5 of 7
Oh my goodness that is so deeply sad.

Heres some #'s

Hotline for Reporting Abuse of the Elderly
for Information on Aging and Referrals

And check to see if they have The Elderly Adult Protection Services Act or something similar.
There has to be an organization that would be able to step in and help, especially now that there is a police record of it.
post #6 of 7
That is so awful. I really don't have any advice, though I bet I could find you a "Guido" if I tried. I'm sorry he's going through this. He certainly doesn't deserve it. I hope and pray you or someone can get things taken care of. Since he's considered elderly at this point, are there any government agencies that may be able to help on that grounds?
post #7 of 7
We see cases like this at the hospital EVERY week.

Your uncle has a loving family - he needs to be given some sense. Like any abusive relationships, the controllee has a lot of power on the controlled, psychological as well as physical. Breaking that link is difficult, but often necessity, and also, often a matter of life and death.

I'll avoid a psychology class since I am not qualified nor trained specifically in this area, but our social workers or psychiatrist always guide the patients to understand the situation and why it is hurting them more than it is helping.

If your uncle is diagnosed with severe mental illness, the family can legally deposit an official complain at the police and even file for a restriction order (at least here where I live) on the girlfriend, where she is required to stay a X amount of feet away from him, or she gets to spend some time in jail.

I'd seriously advise moving the Uncle as well, this is usually necessary in 50% of our abused cases.

This was the intern talking.

Now it's the person with feelings.

Now I am not sure wheither the girlfriend is mentally ill or challenged as well, or simply old and manipulative with all her senses intact. In case it is the latter: I'd move your uncle ASAP and let the girlfriend know IN PERSON that if she ever lays a hand on him again, you WILL do EVERYTHING in your power to make sure she pays tenfold. No physical violence is required. But in my experience elders can be VERY manipulative and ill-intended when suffering from solitude. For every sweet, gentle grandma or grandpa you get as a patient, you pay the price with two extremely mean other elderly who fake symptoms, swear, scream, get physicially violent with nurses or will even disconnect their monitors to piss off the nurses.

I'm not inventing any of this. The explanation for this is that our current grandpas and grandmas in their time did not have the luxury of emanticipation, and sensibilization to communication and acceptance of other's differences. They kept it all inside for decades and in many cases, got the better of some.

Hey, at least, that's what the textbook says. Is it true? No idea. But your uncle's safety is #1, and before doing anything legal, moving him is best.
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