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Thursday, May 4, 2017

Dear GOP: Thank you for making rape a preexisting condition

Today's the day conservative politicians vote on the American Health Care Act, or as it's being called in my house, bullshit. Why is it called bullshit in my house? Because this horrible, evil, uncaring bill makes rape a preexisting condition.

As a rape survivor thrice over, I have some issues. Chronic anxiety, mild-to-moderate PTSD, and chronic depression are the big three, which means sometimes, I head back into therapy for a few sessions, just to recharge my coping skills. Given that many conservatives don't even understand what rape is, or think rape victims are to blame for being assaulted, it makes sense that men and women who survive rape are seen as less than deserving of care.

Let's say you are a rape survivor, and you live in a red state. The American Health Care Act passes, and your governor decides he (or she) doesn't want to spend a dime on people with preexisting conditions. Your governor would receive a waiver from the Trump administration, granting them permission to charge you a much higher premium for your preexisting condition. Now, Trump's people claim this will only affect those who have a lapse in coverage-63 days (well, that's specific, isn't it?)-but given how madly in love Trump is with state's rights, it seems that would be a hard metric to monitor.

ABC News explains:

——States can get waivers exempting insurers from providing consumers with required coverage of specified health services, including hospital and outpatient care, pregnancy and mental health treatment.

——States can get waivers from Obama's prohibition against insurers charging higher premiums to people with pre-existing health problems, but only if the person has had a gap in insurance coverage. States could get those waivers if they have mechanisms like high-risk pools that are supposed to help cover people with serious, expensive-to-treat diseases. Critics say these pools are often under-funded and ineffective.

Read the first one again. States can apply for, and receive, waivers that allow insurance companies to stop providing care for pregnancy and mental health treatment. Who gets pregnant again? Right, women. And who might need access to immediate mental health care? RAPE VICTIMS. All of this is made possible by the McArthur-Meadows Amendment, which, according to New York Magazine, will "... allow states to discriminate based on medical history, reportedly without mitigating the subsequent high cost of health care for millions of Americans. In addition to rape, postpartum depression, Cesarean sections, and surviving domestic violence are all considered preexisting conditions. Companies can also deny coverage for gynecological services and mammograms."

Rape is awful. Those of us who survive it are never the same. In the first few weeks following a rape, you don't sleep, you often cannot even think about eating, much less keep anything down. You don't want to leave your house, and sometimes, you can't be alone. You may not be able to go to work. You might have physical trauma-bruising, cuts, scrapes, internal injuries. YOU NEED CARE. You need rape crisis counselors and therapists, you need trained specialists who know exactly what you're going through and how to get you to the other side.

In the months, and even years, after a rape, the need for immediate care can diminish, but rape survivors still need help. We might need medication to help with insomnia or anxiety, we might deal with aggressive suicidal ideation and need hospitalization. Again, we are never the same.

The last time I was raped, I was in my early twenties. That's thirty years ago, and I still wake up terrified in the middle of the night. I still see it in my nightmares: his hand around my neck, his breath, the sound of my shorts ripping, the feeling of complete helplessness as a stranger slammed me against my own car and raped me. As I write this, my heart rate is increasing, I am holding back tears, and I am struggling to finish. Thirty years. I still have all this after thirty years.

But the GOP doesn't care. The GOP wants survivors of sexual violence to suffer, to struggle, to break, to bleed. Donald Trump and his merry band of sociopaths want to rape us over and over again. Oh, too harsh? Fine. I'll close with comments conservatives have made about rape, then you tell me I'm wrong. Actually, don't, because I'm not. Not about this. Not about how the GOP feels about survivors of rape.

Clayton Williams: "If it's inevitable, just relax and enjoy it."

Todd Akin: "If it's legitimate rape, the female body has ways to shut that thing down."

Rick Santorum: "Rape victims should make the best of a bad situation."

Richard Mourdock: "Even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that is something that God intended to happen."

Lawrence Lockman: "If a woman has (the right to an abortion), why shouldn't a man be free to use his superior strength to force himself on a woman? At least the rapists' pursuit of sexual freedom doesn't (in most cases) result in anyone's death."

Donald Trump: "I don't even wait. And when you're a star, they let you do it, you can do anything ... grab them by the pussy."


  1. Okay, I'm a guy, so pregnancy isn't something I would have to deal with in the circumstances. But when I was seventeen I was beaten up and raped by two or three men at night in a Manhattan alley (you really can't make this shit up).

    I still have PTSD, panic attacks, bipolar mood swings, and a menu of other symptoms that have kept me going to a shrink regularly for thirty-odd years.

    Treatment helps, but I have had to make peace with the idea that I will never, ever be over it.

    1. Everything you need will be a preexisting condition. And thanks to the "religious freedom" crap he's signing today, you can also now be discriminated against far more easily for being you.

    2. Sorry that you still have to live that everyday. I understand some of your pain and commend you for being able to speak about it. Many men never can.

  2. Thank you for sharing your trauma, Scott. That was very brave. If more men were able to speak out about their sexual assaults, the country would understand that it's not just girls and women, but also boys and men who suffer, who are in pain, who need and deserve compassion and care, not victim-blame. I hate to say it, but maybe if more men knew this, they'd take victim's rights seriously, make sure that victims are given the benefit of the doubt, left un-stigmatized, and supported as they should be

    1. N-Scott is an amazing man, who has channeled his trauma into supporting and lifting up others. I believe you're right about what could happen if other men spoke out. Thank you so much for visiting and for your kind comment.