There are at least two obvious reasons why sex crimes should be rising among the elderly – namely: the rising number of elderly people as society ages, and their increasing vigor as medical and nursing science progresses. National Police Agency (NPA) statistics show the numerical implications. Over the past 30 years, rape committed by people 65 and over is up 8-fold, indecent assault 20-fold.
Spa! (April 10-17) focuses on stalking. The NPA records 2287 arrests in 2017 of alleged stalkers 60 and over, but that’s probably the tip of the iceberg. Stalking is a difficult crime to quantify. The borderline between nuisance and crime is vague, and victims are less likely to come forward if the harassment seems to smack more of the former than of the latter. Take this case, for instance:
“Reiko,” 36, studied design at a vocational college under a certain “Professor M” – a very famous designer in his day, back in the 1980s, though something of a has-been when Reiko knew him some 20 years later. All the same, his reputation was solid and well-earned, and he was a good teacher. He saw potential in Reiko and singled her out for attention. She graduated, went to work for a design company, married, and was on her way.
M retired and slipped into oblivion. We aren’t told his age, but infer the twilight years. His work was done, but his life wasn’t over. He needed to feel needed, to be involved. He dialed Reiko’s number, gave her advice, suggested people to contact, kept her on the phone for hours. She respected him and owed him a lot. She didn’t like to hurt his feelings, but finally had to tell him that she had work to do and no time for him. He exploded: “But it’s your work I’m trying to help you with!”
The calls kept coming. Finally her husband seized the phone and warned him he’d better stop or else. He stopped.
Years went by. Social networking burgeoned. Suddenly there he was again – on her website, in her SNS postings, commenting on this, suggesting that, working his way into her online conversations. “He’d show up at my lectures,” she tells Spa!, “and shout, ‘Surprise!’ He’d tell everyone who came to hear me: ‘I taught her! She was my best student!’ And he’d hand his name card around.”
Once, she said, he grabbed her and tried to kiss her. “He said, ‘I’ll die soon…’” We don’t learn how it ended, if it ended. But it’s easy to see that calling the police would be hard for Reiko.
The following episode is more plainly a police matter. A man of 85 allegedly broke into the apartment of a 66-year-old woman and confronted her with (of all things) an electric vibrator. “I’ll make you feel good,” he said. She took a different view of the matter. The case as Spa! reports it, is strange and hard to make out. It seems the man has been stalking this woman for 40 years, peeping into her window and so on. Why such behavior went so long unreported is not clear, but when he was finally arrested, he had already been diagnosed with mild dementia.
The court, however, found him capable of taking responsibility for his actions. Asked why he approached the victim with a vibrator, he replied, “With a knife, she might have got hurt.”
The investigation is ongoing, but Spa! notes a tendency, especially in cases concerning the elderly, to deal with them in summary trials, and with fines rather than imprisonment. It’s not uncommon, the magazine says, for defendants to feign dementia and get off that way.
“It’s no laughing matter,” Spa! concludes – quite rightly. Japan’s population will get a lot older before it gets younger.© RikiWeb