Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Sexual Violence Costs Minnesota 8 Billion Dollars Per Year But ...

... in the words of:

Rohit Agarwal has left a new comment on your post "The purpose of this blog is to explore the messy p...":

get over it... what's done is done... and you can't change it... but no use brooding over the past... btw its good that you are using it to earn money.. well done

His insults and this familiar refrain of "get over it" are typical of people who want to feel smug about doing nothing positive about the problem of sexual violence and who attack those who are doing something positive about this problem while hoping to inflict emotional pain.

What people like this seem most afraid of is that I can help change it. No, I can't go back and change what happened to me, but I can change what happens to others by speaking out against sexual violence and the lies which support sexual violence and the silencing of rape victims.

When these people are called out as part of the problem their smugness can quickly turn to rage. How dare anyone call them rape apologists or part of the problem!

This man's mischaracterization of the problem of sexual violence demonstrated in his comment is highlighted by the report released Tuesday by the Minnesota Dept. of Health as part of their Sexual Violence Prevention efforts.

Costs of Sexual Violence Report in Minnesota Report which estimates the cost of sexual violence in Minnesota for 2005 to be $8 billion was done by the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation.

The state's first-ever report on the estimated economic impact of rape and other forms of sexual assault, which reports costs of almost $8 billion in 2005, including medical and mental health care for victims, lost work and other quality of life issues, victim services, and criminal justice costs.

Eight billion dollars for one state in one year indicates that this problem impacts everyone in the state of Minnesota.

Here are some stats from the report:

61,000 Minnesota residents were sexually assaulted of which 4 out of 5 were female.

5,400 convicted sexual conduct offenders were under state supervision.

About two thirds of reported rapes (unwanted sex) don't meet the state's standard for rape and are not reported in state and federal rape statistics.

Note: Many people will twist this into meaning that two thirds of the rape reports are false, but that is dead wrong. The others were characterized as reports of different crimes such as sexual assault.

$130.5 million is the cost for the criminal justice system and offender treatment.

Sexual violence costs over 3 times as much as drunk driving.

The report came up with a total cost of $8 billion but many related costs weren't included (personal protection costs like home alarms) or were likely only partially included (commercial sexual exploitation) so the real cost is much higher. This means that those who have little pity for those who "get themselves raped" should support prevention which reduces rape attempts (even so-called legal attempts) for purely selfish reasons.

Many people will ignore or fight prevention efforts and instead focus their efforts on attacking the numbers contained in this report. Six of the $8 billion comes from the pain and suffering of victims and lost quality of life -- something all of us who have been raped or otherwise sexually assaulted have been told repeatedly to "just get over."

For those who really don't care what rape does to the victim, $2 billion a year is still a huge amount of money.

This report should also be a wake up call for all those who support abstinence-only programs since it tells them that these programs aren't doing a good enough job reaching those who are pursuing sex and/or sexual contact with people who don't want to have sex with them. The highest rates of sexual assault victimization were among girls aged 13 to 17.

To ignore this problem is to be part of the problem.

If we can eliminate all rape attempts or even reduce the number of attempts significantly then that will make a dramatic difference. This criminal behavior doesn't pop out of thin air, those who commit these crimes have found ways to justify their actions.

We need to find more ways to shut their rape-supportive attitudes down.

Minnesota Public Radio has more coverage here.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 10:17 AM   2 comments links to this post


At July 18, 2007 6:20 PM, Blogger said...

I always wonder how someone like that would respond if they had been victimized-- or their mother, wife, daughter, sister, girlfriend, etc-- and someone told them to "Get over it".

I think "get over it" is one of the worst things you can say to someone who has been traumatized. It dismisses their experience, belittles their feelings, and has the effrontery to make the victim responsible for what happened.

You are absolutely correct in labeling this person a "rape apologist". The outrage should never be directed towards you-- but towards what you experienced, as well as the abuses women are forced to endure every single day.

At July 18, 2007 11:56 PM, Blogger Holly D said...

Hi Marcella,
Excellent post, well stated. Also
costs should not even be an issue in any state, the costs to the rape survivor are far more personally than the states costs.
Thank you for doing this post.


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