Violence against women isn't just emotionally devastating and immoral — it's also pretty darn expensive. So if you care about money — or women — take a look.
Obviously, violence against women is a very serious problem. But I never really thought about the monetary angle. That's right. Money. Seems like the least important thing to talk about when it comes to abuse and assault, but apparently there's a seriously huge economic cost to all the physical and sexual violence that women experience in the U.S. Get ready to have your mind blown.
Sexualized and domestic violence costs the U.S. $5.8 billion ... yes, BILLION. Don't act like you knew that!
Now, here's how that breaks down. $5.8 billion is the cost associated with three things: health care, productivity, and lifetime earning losses for three violence areas (physical assault, rape, and stalking).
As you could guess, the majority of that $5.8 billion is spent on health care. $4.1 billion worth of hospital treatment, emergency room visits, ambulance charges, X-rays, MRIs, and therapy. Yep. All here. I don't know about you, but I've never heard that stat in the national debate around America's overall health care costs. Seems like there's an obvious way to cut them (hint, hint: Stop attacking women), but I digress.
OK. Back to the numbers. This next one is where I really got sick to my stomach.
Over $300 million of that $5.8 billion is the health care costs, productivity costs, and lifetime earnings lost due to rape. Take a second and think about that. How many rapes must be happening to cost this county over $300 million?!?! (This is also a really good number to pull from your back pocket the next time someone tells you that sexual assault isn't the epidemic women say it is.)
If you think that's a lot of money, check out the next one.
The most costly type of violence in this $5.8 billion spent? Physical assault. $4.2 billion worth of punches, slaps, chokes, and bruises. And the fun doesn't stop there.
You know those productivity and earnings costs that I keep mentioning? This is what happens when women have to stay home from work and otherwise aren't being 100% productive in the workforce. $1.75 billion worth of work not getting done and money not being earned.
We've saved quite a bit of money as a result of the Violence Against Women Act — $16.4 billion to be exact! Which proves that not only does violence against women cost us, we can actually save by ending it.
Share this image for yet another reason (as if we need one?) that it's important for America to seriously invest in new laws, better enforcement, more support services, and, of course, prevention, prevention, prevention. Because lives aren't just being destroyed by violence against women. The economy is too.