Yesterday, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prvention (CDC) released a report that found that the annual cost of child maltreatment (CM) is $124 billion. Child maltreatment includes physical, psychological and sexual abuse as well as neglect. YaMinco of the Children’s Monitor comments on the report:
The study highlights some evidence-based strategies for addressing CM, including a promising array of prevention and intervention programs with great potential to reduce the economic burden of maltreatment. Although longitudinal research on the economic burden of fatal and non-fatal CM is still very limited, the study suggests that in economic terms the burden is so substantial that the benefits of prevention will likely outweigh the costs for effective programs.
I found it most interesting that fatal child abuse is more expensive than non-fatal abuse. Now that I loked at the CDC news release, it makes sense, since they count productivity losses and a dead child can’t work. However, please also note the substantial criminal, mental health, medical and educational costs for a child who survives maltreatment. If this doesn’t signal that child abuse is an urgent public health concern, I don’t know what does.
One of the most prevailing myths about sexual abuse is that the victims are always female and the perpertrators are always male. While this is true in the majority of reported cases, women can be rapists and sexual abuse perps too, and boys and men can be victims. In Pennsylvania in the United States, a woman was charged with sexually assaulting three boys over a five-moth period in 2007. The woman is already in prison, although the article does not say for what.
Some legislatures unfortunately state that women can’t be rapists. This perpetuates the stereotype of male offenders and female victims, and further minimizes the chances of getting justice for male survivors. It is good in this sense that Ms. Frable was charged. I hope that it wasn’t a case of real rape being dismissed as sexual assault.