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Financial Literacy

The economic costs of sexual abuse and rape

The economic costs of sexual abuse isn’t often discussed in the media, but people should be made aware that they remain to be a problem among victims.



Financial costs hinder sexual abuse victims from reporting their ordeal. Rape Response Services (RRS) estimates that the economic costs of reporting rape amounts to more than $150,000.

The figure includes criminal prosecution, deterioration of productivity, seeking medical attention such as obtaining a rape kit. Experts encourage victims to report such crimes to police and seek help from National Sexual Assault Telephone hotline. However, the costs of reporting sexual abuse make it unsurprising that authorities are aware about only half of the cases.

Economic costs too much in all aspects

By law, victims of rape or sexual abuse are not required to report to law enforcement before receiving a sexual assault forensic exam or rape kit according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN). However, this kit, which is a checklist, is vital in collecting the attacker’s DNA evidence from a victim.

Federal law states that states and hospitals should not charge women fees for forensic rape examination. But there are some that charge $1,000 and up, according to Omaha.

Psychological trauma and financial implications hinder sexual abuse victims from reporting the incident

Research from the Rape Response Services showed that the economic costs of reporting rape translates to over $150,000.

Another costly factor is the deterioration of productivity, which happens when victims are financially dependent on their perpetrators. They are then financially helpless as perpetrators go to jail. Child Safe House notes this scenario occurs most specially in children whose fathers have sexually abused them and mothers who live in fear of the father. In the end, victims lose the financial viability to seek help and live on their own.

Discrimination and biases

Victims of rape or sexual abuse by a coworker or a boss often get unfavorable response from colleagues. The National Sexual Violence Resource Center said that aside from the feeling of being unsafe in the workplace, victims of sexual abuse in the office also suffer intangible losses such as interrupted job performance and absenteeism. These factors hinder professional growth therefore losing compensation and work opportunity.

Campuses are also places of rampant sexual abuse. The First Report of the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault revealed that one in five college students experienced sexual assault at school. Students who become victims of sexual abuse or rape drop out because of absences and loss of interest. This has a long term effect on opportunities. Victims have to commit more time in trials and court, this mean less time from work  and school which results to less compensation less time for learning.

Rising out from financial turmoil

In the US, women are more likely to become victims of rape or sexual abuse than their male counterparts. One in 6 American women is a victim. This is a staggering number in comparison with one in 33 men, according to RRS statistics. The numbers then add up to 17.7 million US women and 2.78 million men. Shockingly, some of these perpetrators are family members, friends or in a relationship with the victim.

The government reimburses victims for medical bills, lost salary and counselling. For instance, Colorado signed a new bill that would allow victims compensation, in lieu of the abuser’s financial support.  

Victims of financial abuse

Women who become victims of sexual abuse also more likely to become victims of financial abuse according to reports from Womens Law, thus they seek more resources to attain financial freedom.

Financial expert and author Manisha Thakor teaches women to make wise financial choices that are in sync with their values and the beliefs. Thakor also encouraged pursuing financial self- education from books, short courses and through the internet. In this highly technological era, financial information is at anyone’s grasp. The internet is filled with courses, self-help e-books and even business news sources such as Money Talks, Born2Invest and More than Money.

Women afflicted with these devastating circumstances can rise out of their crises. The financial problems that surface are insurmountable. However, victims of sexual abuse or rape can rise out of the financial turmoil that once hit them.

Olivia McCall is passionate about helping people and making the world a better place. Education, women and children’s rights, and environment protection make the top three in her advocacies. Olivia was a student volunteer in non-profit organizations in her native Maryland long before she finished her degree in social work. After her journalistic duties, Olivia spends her free time tutoring unschooled kids, counseling battered women, and acting as a community tour guide to visitors who want to bask in the wonders of Mother Nature on her side of the country.

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