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The high cost of rape — in pain and dollars

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Editor’s note: The following article was written by the Lovefraud reader, “Jennifer in NYC.”

The New York Times OP-ED article, “What One Rape Cost Our Family (Friday, June 24, 2016), by the California-based, freelance journalist, Laura Hilgers, chronicles the years of devastation her family faced after her daughter was raped by a fellow student while attending a college in Washington D.C. .  A freshman at the time, her daughter, Willa, waited one year before she reported the crime.  However, during this time she developed “…post-traumatic stress disorder, panic attacks, depression, and an an addiction to alcohol.  And while she chose not to file criminal chargesout of fear of being traumatized again—she struggled so much after the attack that ultimately she had to leave school.”  

The author, Ms. Hilgers, rightfully states that “…it would be impossible for me to describe in the space of a newspaper article the emotional toll this took on Willa and our family…”  However, the focus of the article is a sobering and shocking exposé of the financial costs associated with rape and arguably, any major trauma.  According to Ms. Hilgers:  “The financial burdens of an attack [of any type] can be overwhelming.”  And, as a way of “bearing witness” to her family’s ordeal, she offers, by way of illustration, a “…financial reckoning—collateral damage that demonstrates the devastation, and that rarely comes up in the national discussion on campus sexual assaults [i.e., trauma].”  Ms. Hilgers reported that this ordeal cost her family $245,000.00+. 

Published in the wake of the highly-publicized coverage of the rape of a young woman by a Stanford University freshman and the justified outrage over the sickeningly light sentence that he received, this article underscores the enormous expenseboth calculable and incalculablethat significant trauma imposes on individuals, families and ultimately, our society.  However, in my opinion, the glaring omission in this article and in the coverage of the Stanford University rape case is/was the failure to rightfully link these rapes/significant traumas to psychopathy.  While it’s true that not all rapists are psychopaths, it’s also true that psychopaths are able to blend into society (including an “elite environment,” like a university) and that they’re only exposed after they commit a heinous, criminal act, like rape.   While these two rapists may not be psychopaths, their exhibited criminal activity is most definitely psychopathic, i.e., demonstrably anti-social.  And, for those of us who have been targeted and victimized by psychopaths and as a result, have had our lives “de-railed,” we also have experienced the years of devastation and therefore, the enormous expense–financial and otherwise-that follows… 

What one rape cost our family, on NYTimes.com.


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