American women who have been raped or sexually assaulted face the double burden of dealing with the emotional pain of the traumatic experience and the financial weight of the costs for medical treatment. The expenses do not come cheap, too. A new study reveals that abused women pay almost $1,000 in medical bills after reporting the crime to authorities.
The Violence Against Women Act passed in 2005 had provisions to ensure that survivors of assault could not be charged for medical examinations, at times called the rape kits, regardless whether the sexual assault is reported to the police or not. Unfortunately for survivors, the legislation was not able to cover treatment for related medical issues they may need.
The study published in the American Journal of Public Health also reveals that insurance providers paid over $9 million for rape and sexual assault related medical services in 2013.
$6, 735 was the average amount spent on treatment for each victim. Of the total cost, the survivors pay for 14% of the treatment amounting to $950, while the insurance takes care of the remaining $5,789.
The study's lead author Ashley Tennessee from the Medical University of South Carolina said that victims of other violent crimes do not face the same financial burden of rape and sexual assault victims. Victims of other violent crimes are not responsible for paying for the damage that resulted from the crime. Tennessee added that many people are not even aware that victims have to pay for associated medical charges. Tennessee stressed that the financial burden adds to the emotional burden of victims. She admitted that it is an area that "society has missed", and that we have a moral right to help the victims.
The study looked at the hospital record billings of women in the U.S. who are rape and sexual assault victims with private insurance in 2013. The victims spent on hospital visits, post-visit expenses including further medical care, prescriptions and mental health services. Last year, one woman sadly had to turn to crowdfunding online to ask fro help to get medical treatment after she was raped.