Once Again, Women’s Bodies Have Been Shamed And Used As Pawns By The Party Of 'Values'

This is real. This is happening. And we must fight to end it now.

*Trigger warning: subjects of rape and sexual assault.

*Trigger warning: subjects of rape and sexual assault.

When a vile creature at a dive bar drugged my drink unbeknownst to me last year, I was lucky enough to escape the night without further assault. I made it home safe and alone and spent the next two days violently ill and lying in bed.

On top of the horrendous physical effects of this despicable and intrusive act, I also faced psychological trauma for quite some time while trying to come to terms with the fact that I barely dodged being sexually assaulted or raped. I thought about what I might have suffered through and what the consequences would have been as well as how many women, and men, are victims of this crime every year, and how I could have easily been one of them.

The amount of grief and agony a victim is subject to as a result of sexual assault and rape is astronomical. They are often treated as criminals and liars, being questioned about what they were wearing or if they had been drinking; they are often left to heal alone without justice due to a broken criminal justice system and lack of affordable and accessible mental health treatments; and they are often tucked away in hiding, refusing to seek any assistance out of fear or shame.

For those who do choose to get help and report the crime and their injuries, it is in itself an excruciating and draining experience. Victims are forced to recount the incident over and over, if they can even remember it, and they are subject to invasive medical exams by strangers just hours or even minutes after being assaulted.

This is something no one should ever have to go through, and now, the GOP has decided that along with this dreadful aftermath of rape, victims can also now lose accessibility to health care coverage as a result of the crime committed against them.

Earlier today, May 4, 2017, the House of Representatives, controlled by Republicans, voted to repeal Obamacare (ACA) and replace it with the GOP version called the “American Health Care Act.” Not only will 24 million people lose their insurance, and not only will tax subsidies end, but we will also return to the time when sexual assault survivors who seek medical care can be denied health insurance at a later date.

The ACA erased this disgusting and archaic mandate, and apparently the GOP thought it unnecessary. Once again, women, who experience sexual assault and rape at a disturbingly high rate, have been thrown to the dogs by a large group of men who decided that our livelihoods are not worth preserving.

Being raped or assaulted is now a preexisting condition.

To be told you did something wrong and that you aren’t a viable candidate for health insurance and be punished because a criminal violated your body is more than just adding insult to injury—it is reprehensible, immoral, unfathomable and should be ruled illegal.

To be assaulted is to feel as if your body is not your own, as if someone stripped your autonomy away from you. This bill will only intensify that idea and emotion.

But women will NOT be seen as commodities. We will NOT be used as pawns in a game that is won only by rich men in suits.

Our hope is that when this “bill” gets to the Senate, enough Republicans will come to their senses, as a result of either an epiphany of morals or from immense pressure advocates like myself will be placing on them, and vote down this heinous law. The fact that it was even proposed in the first place is a horrifying display of the country in which we live today.

This isn’t a chapter out of the Handmaid’s Tale. This isn’t a dystopian movie featuring Jennifer Lawrence. This isn’t fiction or make believe or an exaggerated warning from liberal women in pink hats.

This is real. This is happening. And we must fight to end it now.

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