Tuesday, April 8, 2014

ELDER ABUSE AND MICKEY ROONEY

With the passing of Mr. Rooney, one should also be reminded of his testimony on elder abuse before the senate hearing during the Justice For All: Ending Elder Abuse, Neglect & Financial Exploitation:

"My name is Mickey Rooney.
And I want to thank you for this opportunity to testify today.
    We are here today on an issue preventing the abuse,
neglect, financial exploitation of seniors. Unfortunately, I'm
testifying before the committee today, not just as a concerned
citizen, which we all should be, but as a victim of elder
abuse, myself. And that's true.
    Throughout my life, I've been blessed with love and support
of family, friends, and even the people who like my pictures,
who are called fans. I have worked almost my entire lifetime in
the business I love, like you do. I was lucky enough to be in a
business I love, to entertain and to please other people. I
worked with joy, but I've worked hard and diligently. But, even
with success, my monetary thing, called money, was stolen from
me--yes, stolen--by someone close. Close. I was unable to avoid
becoming a victim of elder abuse.
    Elder abuse comes in many, many different forms: physical
abuse, emotional abuse, and financial abuse. Financial. Each
one of these causes are devastating, ladies and gentlemen, in
its own right. Many times, sadly, as with my situation, the
elder abuse involves a family member.
    When it happens, you feel scared, disappointed--yes, and
angry. And you can't believe that it's happening to you. You
feel overwhelmed. The strength you need to fight it.
Complicated. You're afraid, but you're also thinking about your
other family members, about the potential criticism of your
family, your friends. People you know, they may not want to
accept the dysfunction that you feel and need to share, because
one should love their families, as I do. I love my family. And,
for other reasons, you might feel hesitant to come forward, you
might not be able to make rational decisions, intelligent
decisions.
    What other people see as generosity, may in reality be the
exploitation, manipulation, and, sadly, emotional blackmail of
elders and people who are vulnerable. I know it because I,
myself, happen to be one. My money was taken, was used, what
finances I had. When I asked for information, I was told that I
couldn't have any information of my own. ``What the hell? What
are you talking about?'' I was told it was ``none of my
business'', ``it's none of my business.'' And when you're told
that, you're left to leave powerless.
    You can be in control of your life one minute, ladies and
gentlemen, and in the next minute, like that, you have
absolutely, believe it or not, no control of your life.
Sometimes this happens quickly, but other times it's very, very
gradual. You might wonder when all this truly began.
    In my case, I was eventually and completely stripped of the
ability to make even the most basic decisions--where we go or
what do we do--decisions that everyone likes to make. Over the
course of time, my daily life became unbearable because all of
this seemed to come out of nowhere. At first, it was something
small, and I could control it. But, then it became something
sinister that was completely out of my control. I felt trapped,
scared, used, and frustrated. And, above all, when a man feels
helpless, it's terrible. And I was helpless.
    For years, I suffered silently. I didn't want to tell
anybody. I couldn't muster the courage. And you have to have
courage to say--``I need help.'' And I knew I needed it. Even
when I tried to speak up, I was told to, ``Shut up and be
quiet. You don't know what you're talking about.'' It seemed
that no one--no one wanted to believe me.
    But, ladies and gentlemen, I want you to know that I never
gave up. I continued to share my story with others. I told them
about the abuse my family and I have suffered. I'm now taking
steps to right all of the wrongs. I'm now taking steps, ladies
and gentlemen of the Senate, to right all the wrongs that were
committed against me.
    I'm also thankful to my family, friends, and I like to call
them, fans all over the United States and the world, who have
expressed their support and caring for me.
    Ladies and gentlemen of the committee, I didn't tell you
just a part of my story so that you, the Senators and Madam
Senators, would feel sorry or feel sympathy for me. I came here
for you to think of the literally millions of seniors who are
abused.
    I am here today because it's so important that I share my
story with others, especially those who may be watching at home
or driving; suffering, maybe silently, as I was.
    To those seniors, and especially elderly veterans, Army,
Navy, Marine--you veterans, like myself--I want to tell you
this: You're not alone. And you have nothing--nothing, ladies
and gentlemen--to be ashamed of. You deserve--yes, you
deserve--better. You all have the right to control your own
life. Everyone does. You have the right to control your life
and be happy. Please, for yourself, end the cycle of abuse and
do not allow yourself to be silenced anymore. Tell your story
to anyone--someone--and let them know. And, above all--above
all--have faith and have hope. Someone will hear you if we all
stand strong together. Speak up and say, ``I'm being abused.
This happened to me.'' If you speak up, we can take the
necessary steps--the altogether two very necessary steps--to
end the cycle--to end it--of elderly abuse.
    The elder abuse happened to me--that's why I'm here to tell
you a little about it--to me, Mickey Rooney. I'm just a man
doing a job, like you are. It was my job to entertain; it's
your job to end things like this. It's why I'm here. And if it
can happen to me, oh, God willing it--and unwilling it--it can
happen to anyone. I know who I'm talking about. And I--I'm not
speaking just for myself. What I hoped to be and what I was,
was taken from me. I'm asking you to stop this cycle of elderly
abuse. I mean just stop it. Now. Not tomorrow, not next month,
but now. Let's stop--and you all have to vote to get this bill
passed--two bills passed, so that it can go to our Congress,
and Congress can send it to our President of the United States,
Mr. Obama, and end it and say that it's a crime, and we will
not allow it in the United States of America."

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