Back in April, as she was announcing that month to be New Mexico’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Governor Susana Martinez used the term “forcible rape” in her declaration: ‘Whereas, fifteen percent of New Mexican adults have been forcibly raped at least once in their lifetime…’ [...]
[T]here is no need to redefine the word [rape]. But that didn’t stop the GOP in New Mexico from including “forcible rape” on a new piece of legislation proposing changes to the state’s child assistance programs. Under the “Client Responsibilities,” meaning women seeking child care, those women must prove that they have exhausted every avenue in trying to obtain child support from the father, unless, of course, that father happens to be a rapist. But now, they must take the extra step to prove that their rape was, in fact, a “forcible rape.” [...]
At what point do these dumbass nimrods understand that this semantic assault on 51% of the population is a very bad, no good game plan? Well, Martinez may have learned her lesson on this particular matter.
Jodi Jacobson at RH Reality Check confirms that Gov. Martinez has backtracked and removed the word “forcible,” albeit provisionally:
In a phone call, Enrique Knell, spokesman for CYFD [the Children, Youth, and Families Department of New Mexico], told me that the terms was “provisionally removed.” When I asked what that meant, he said that it was provisional because a public hearing was to be held in Sante Fe on October 1st. Knell could not respond immediately to questions about the public comment period, nor the process of developing final guidelines. He promised to get back to me with that information.
The CYFD statement leaves a number of questions. As we noted in our original piece, the Federal Bureau of Investigation made clear in January that it would no longer use the term “forcible” rape, and has been overhauling the entire process of reporting on rape and sexual assault, a fact which strangely seems to have gone unnoticed by the Martinez Administration. Moreover, if the term is “redundant and unnecessary,” why was it the centerpiece of the March proclamation on sexual assault, also noted in our original piece?
Advocates also remain deeply concerned about the proposed guidelines, which still require a parent seeking childcare assistance to first file a child support claim against the other parent. It remains unclear how, if the current language remains, the state will ensure that rape victims are exempted. There also appears to be no provision for situations in which a woman who left an abusive husband or partner would be able to opt-out of the requirement to seek child support. Finally, it also remains unclear how long the processes would take and who would be in charge, thereby suggesting long delays in processing claims for child support assistance, which, in turn, would have dramatic ramifications for women who need childcare to work or study.
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