The rape tax: Tangible and intangible costs of sexual violence

Lori A. Post*, Nancy J. Mezey, Christopher Maxwell, Wilma Novalés Wibert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examines the justice system's decision that sexual violence, particularly rape, is not an economic crime. The authors estimate the tangible and intangible financial costs of sexual violence in Michigan. In 1996, rape and sexual assault cost Michigan more than $6.5 billion, most of which came in the form of intangible costs. Sex-offense homicide cost more than $18 million, two thirds of which was intangible costs. If divided equally as a "rape tax," each resident of Michigan would have paid nearly $700 in 1996 to cover the cost of sexual violence. The implication is that prevention is the best way to reduce the high cost of sexual violence. Furthermore, rape and sexual assault need to be identified as a public health issue to raise awareness about sexual violence. Finally, courts and prosecutors need to think about sexual violence as an economic crime to better protect victims and survivors of sexual violence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)773-782
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Volume17
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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