Friday, May 18, 2018

Tip of the iceberg

Continuing on my earlier thoughts, let's examine the implications of the notion that recent "MeToo" revelations are even now just the tip of the iceberg.  Really, if we believe the statistics saying a huge portion of young people are sexually abused, and moreover if we believe the statistics suggesting that rape and sexual assault are grossly underreported even among adults, we've got to say "yes."  For that matter, even if we only believe 10% of what we hear, the answer is still "yes". 

But that noted, let's ask a very simple question; if we were to bring all these hidden cases out into the open and deal with them in civil court (and criminal), is it going to bankrupt us?  The scary answer might be "no".

First, let's do some calculations.  If we value the cost of dealing with childhood sexual abuse at about a million dollars per victim and estimate about 20% of the population is abused by age 18, we have an annual cost of about a trillion dollars per year.   Wild numbers, sure, but bear with me. 

Now let's consider that those who are abused as children show disproportionate mental health problems, are more likely to become abusers themselves, and are more likely to have a variety of long term disfunctions.   Might we guess, perhaps, that the rest of us are paying for what they need already through our insurance premiums, welfare, and the costs of incarceration?  The numbers are similar enough in scale that we ought to consider the possibility that longer statutes of limitations and the end of sovereign immunity might not break the bank at all. 

It might just clarify accounting, and maybe offer us a path to ask whether they money we're spending for this is being effectively used. 

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