The NBC News article: Boy Scouts reach $850 million settlement with tens of thousands of sexual abuse victims. The settlement is the largest in a child sexual abuse case in United States history.
My brother made a quick back-of-the-envelope calculation and arrived at ~1,300 victims per year (divide 80,000 claimants by 60 years (1960 to 2020)). “That’s a real shame. It’s both a high number, and not a high number given the millions of boys in Boy Scouts per year,” he commented.
Thirteen-hundred is a low number (per year) but a high cost every hour of every day of every year. It’s 1,300 new victims every year. That’s a 100% cost for each victim. Plus a high cost to the Boy Scouts. And a high cost to society.
Low numbers spread like a cancer
High cost to the victim and their family (siblings, parents, grandparents) at the time(s) of the sexual abuse. And long-term high cost to their mental health (including PTSD), relationships, careers, authority figures, marriage, family-life.
- Bad o-ring seals caused the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster
- Stockmarket crashes caused by over-leveraged traders
- Lehman Brothers was brought down by the collapse of the subprime mortgage market
- Plaque build-up in the arteries
- Large data breaches because of a few bad security settings
- Human error breaks the Internet (Cloudflare; July 17, 2020)
Cost to the victim spreads to their immediate family, which spreads to their extended family, which spreads to their community, which spreads to their future. Therapy is needed for all.
If your house’s plumbing has a small percentage of corrosion, it has a small percentage of corrosion throughout the entire system. Eventually, a pipe will burst and cause a disaster.
Low numbers; high cost.
They’re not just sexually abusing boys in the Boy Scouts. Their own children are at risk. Their nieces and nephews are at risk. Their grandchildren are at risk. Their friend’s and neighbor’s children are at risk.
This is the spiderweb of societal risk that a perpetrator presents.
There’s no way the Boy Scouts gets away with this for this long without some sort of systemic chain-of-command problem. From parents not believing children, to parents afraid to snitch on other parents, to parents turning a blind eye, to leaders not taking reports seriously, to the top brass in the Boy Scouts not wanting to have a tarnished reputation.
Low numbers; high cost.
Loss of integrity and reputation
Like termites eating away at the integrity of a structure, a low number of sexual abuse cases should absolutely destroy an organization. Thirteen-hundred new cases every year – for 60 years – should bring down an organization that ignores such an egregious security flaw. The first 1,300 sexual abuse cases during the first year should have brought down the Boy Scouts. The fact that the sexual abuse spanned 60 years makes it all the worse. That means so many more people inside Boy Scouts knew about the termites – and did nothing.
Low number; high cost.
What’s the cost for mental health repair x 80,000 individuals x their families x lost wages x lost self-esteem?
What’s the cost to the community and society, to creativity and productivity, to GDP, due to victims’ PTSD, rehab, repair, and therapy?
And almost a BILLION dollars in restitution! Which is just a financial way of saying “shame on you.”