TAMPA — As part of Sexual Assault Awareness month, 10News is looking into the true cost of rape.

It can ruin lives and relationships. We now know the individual monetary cost. The National Institutes of Health estimates the cost over a lifetime for a rape victim at $122,461.

Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28153649

Source: http://www.nsvrc.org/

Today, Mark Rivera talks with Rena Romano, a rape survivor.

RIVERA: The National Institutes of Health just came out with the number of how much money it costs a victim of sexual assault over the course of their life. It's $122,461. And I was shocked by that.

ROMANO: There's a huge financial loss because there's loss of productivity once the crime is committed. Medical expenses, loss of work, maybe losing your job. People become addicted, so yeah. That can be a huge financial burden. Definitely. So, I think that number is probably low.

RIVERA: What happened?

ROMANO: Well, at first as a child, I am a survivor of child sexual abuse. It started at the age of four and went on for years. And then as a young adult, in my early 20s, I was working for a company and I was assaulted in my home, he broke in my home, by a colleague. And this is been many years ago, and I've done a lot of healing since then.

I didn't report it. I couldn't report it. And I couldn't go to my boss, because my boss was sexually harassing me,  too. So, I lived with that. I lived with it, and I thought I would be blamed anyway, so I didn't report it.
And that's a huge thing for survivors, or victims, they don't want to report it because they think they're going to be blamed.

RIVERA: In a word, it's helplessness.

ROMANO: Absolutely helplessness, hopelessness, you feel like you are alone. You don't know who to turn to. One thing that I do regret, that I didn't tell, I didn't go to the authorities, and I didn't get help sooner. And I want to see other survivors don't take the path that I took because you can get help right away. And one thing – we have nothing to be ashamed of. And that was a huge "ah ha" moment for me one day. Unlike, I'm living in this deep dark secret of shame, and it's destroying my life. But why should I be ashamed of a crime that I didn't commit? That was a huge "ah ha" moment for me, and I want to share that with other survivors.