Letter: We can prevent sexual violenceTo the Editor: April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. If you think you aren’t affected by sexual violence, think again. We all pay for sexual violence.
By: Kris Kvols, Red Wing, The Republican Eagle
To the Editor:
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. If you think you aren’t affected by sexual violence, think again. We all pay for sexual violence.
In July 2007, the Minnesota Department of Health released the state’s first report on the estimated economic impact of rape and other forms of sexual assault. The results reported in the “Costs of Sexual Violence in Minnesota” were staggering.
According to the report, sexual assault in Minnesota cost almost $8 billion in 2005, or $1,540 per resident.” Based on 2005 census data and assuming that sexual assault occurs at roughly the same rate throughout the state (there is no data to show otherwise), that converts to a cost of $70,200,900 in Goodhue County.
The report also notes that in 2006, the state government spent $130,500,000 (59 percent) on people known to have perpetrated sexual violence — mostly for incarceration and treatment; $90,500,000 (41 percent) on people who were assaulted — mostly for medical care; and nothing (0 percent) on sexual assault prevention.
Of the $90,500,000 spent on people who were assaulted, $3,353,000 (4 percent) was spent on victim services.
The report concludes, “Sexual violence is a serious, costly problem in Minnesota.” “Policy recommendations aimed at preventing sexual violence before it occurs should be vigorously pursued, adopted, or sustained.”
The full “Costs of Sexual Violence in Minnesota” report can be found online at: http://www.
In 2005, Goodhue Wabasha Sexual Assault Services received $34,331 in state victim services funding. Compare that to the cost of $70,200,900 in Goodhue County. In 2007, GWSAS received $26,497 in state funding.
You can make a difference. Gov. Tim Pawlenty has recommended significant cuts to state victim services funding for next year. Please encourage the governor to support funding for sexual violence services and funding for prevention. Sexual violence is preventable and prevention is much less expensive.
Kris Kvols is program director of Goodhue Wabasha Sexual Assault Services.