When a dollar figure is attached to a problem, it draws special attention. That's one of the many important results accomplished by the Tennessee Economic Council on Women with its recently released report, "The Economic Impact of Violence Against Women in Tennessee."
The report, based on statewide surveys, nine public hearings throughout Tennessee, and available crime data, puts the cost of domestic and sexual violence and human sex trafficking targeting women at $866 million each year, paid for largely through tax dollars, healthcare premiums, charity and lost productivity in fields like law enforcement, medical care, social services, and private enterprise. What this tells us is that domestic and sexual violence, while they may occur behind closed doors, affect everyone.
Prevention is one of the keys to breaking the cycle of violence that is passed from parent to child by abuse experienced or witnessed. Educating the next generation to value and respect each other is the best hope for a violence-free home and safer world.
This is a sobering but important report, produced under the direction of TECW Chair Yvonne Wood and TECW Executive Director Phyllis Qualls-Brooks, and it serves as an inspiration for other states to address the scourge of violence against women. Vision 2020 is fortunate to have Wood and Qualls-Brooks serving as Delegates.