Sexual Abuse by the Numbers

It always amazes me that  problems much less common than sexual abuse like autism and cancer tend to get much more attention.  I don’t know if they are any less scary, but anything sex related is difficult to talk about.  And for many people, it’s just something that is better off not spoken of.  Well, while people aren’t talking about it, the cost to society continues to go up.  Even if you somehow thought sexual abuse was OK  wouldn’t it start to bother you as a tax payer that it is costing our society (just in the U.S) over $100 Billion dollars a year in medical, legal and other costs.  The average rape cost society over $150,000.  The figures on child sexual abuse tend to not be included because they are difficult to measure.  It’s estimated that only about 15% of sexual abuse is reported even though it is happening to roughly 25% of children by the time they are 18.  For more costs check out http://www.nsvrc.org/sites/default/files/CostsConsequencesSV.pdf 

And for those of you who thought Lincoln ended slavery, think again.  There are more people in slavery today than there were in 1865.  Current estimates on just sex slavery currently put the number at around 27,000,000 people world wide.  Looking at that another way, that’s every man, woman and child north east of Washington DC.  Or sliced a different way – the entire population of Texas.  It’s a problem almost too big to comprehend – and as a result people don’t want to talk about it.  Beginning the discussion is the first step to making these problems go away.  It’s also important to reframe how we look at the issue of sex slavery.

The word prostitution has a different connotation than slavery.  It’s “the worlds oldest profession”, and that label seems to imply a choice of vocation.  These women decided to make their money by being paid for sex – or at least that’s how it is portrayed by society.  The reality is that most were bought or kidnapped and imprisoned and held through drugs or economically where they could never pay off what they owed to whoever bought them.  It’s a difficult cycle to break, and the organizations that are doing it are going door to door and freeing one child at a time.   If you would like to help, check out http://www.theexodusroad.com/