A study released by a Tennessee group this week determined that the cost of violence against women in the state "likely exceeds $1 billion."
In its "Economic Impact of Violence Against Women" report, the Tennessee Economic Council on Women found that "Tennesseans spent or lost at least $886,171,950 as a result of domestic violence, human sex trafficking, and sexual assault."
The group said that most of that money was spent in tax dollars and health care costs, but lost wages, charity, workplace expenses and other inefficiencies were also included.
But the group said that the toll went beyond the costs of rape kits, broken bones and funerals.
"More shocking than this annual cost to the community—which likely exceeds $1 billion, in truth—is the comprehensive and devastating impact that these crimes have on women and girls in Tennessee," the reported noted. "Estimated to target women in 70 to 80 percent of cases, and measuring in excess of 82,000 incidents annually in this state, domestic and sexual violence foster dependency and isolation; they derail careers, educations, and personal development; and their effects create a global cost to the community by dealing significant immediate damage and immense lasting trauma to one in three women in their lifetime. "
In 2010, Tennessee ranked third in women who were killed by men.
While Republican Gov. Bill Haslam has pushed for stricter punishments for repeat domestic violence offenders, Republicans' overall record on protecting women in Tennessee is mixed.
"Here in Tennessee, we must hold accountable those who refuse to stand up for the rights of women," the Tennessee Democratic Party said in a statement marking the anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in September. “From Tennessee, U.S. Reps. DesJarlais, Roe, Duncan, Fleischmann, Black, Blackburn, Fincher all voted against VAWA and Gov. Haslam and the extreme GOP legislature continue to deny women and mothers access to affordable health care."
"The fact is that there are still too many women who suffer from domestic abuse and we must recommit ourselves to working towards a solution. As Democrats, we will continue to work tirelessly to prevent violence against all Americans."
Photo credit: Abused woman via Shutterstock)
(h/t: The Tennessean)