Survivor to Survivor: The ACA Repeal & the Abandonment of American Survivors

Waiting is the hardest part. Waiting in the cold doctor’s office and not knowing the future of a possible life threatening prognosis is not what one would call ideal. Waiting is one of the hardest parts and more evident today is waiting for change.

 

Americans know this feeling all too well. We’ve been waiting a long time: for the right to healthcare realized, 

justice to be delivered and for our bodies to be protected and respected. 

 

“Repeal and replace” were words on the lips of practically every sitting Republican representative, hankering to abandon the Affordable Care Act.  Despite the ACA’s growing popularity, Republicans unsuccessfully attempted to bring its repeal to vote in March. Today they have likely garnered enough support to both repeal and replace.

 

Today is a hard day. With the results of Thursday’s vote and the shouts of ‘shame, shame, shame,’ which the rest of the country is mentally shouting, around 24 million people are on the outs. Those individuals will lose their healthcare coverage; the poor, elderly and those with “pre-existing conditions.” 

 

Americans have been caught in a cat and mouse game: our bodies and safety in jeopardy. The Republican plan is particularly nasty with the addition of the MacArthur Meadows Amendment, which would strip sexual assault survivors of their protections afforded under the ACA. Survivors of sexual violence would be considered as having a “pre-existing condition.” 

 

Talking about the uncertainty that many of us feel at this moment, especially what is covered under the MacArthur Meadows Amendment, we wanted to take this opportunity to speak to those who are angered, scared and sickened that their traumatic experiences of sexual assault are seen as“pre-existing.” 

Being a survivor of sexual assault, no matter the age, is something that is very hard to talk about. You start to choke, your eyes swell, you can't find your voice and you feel as if the air has somehow escaped the atmosphere. You are essentially annihilated into tiny specks that float in the air;

you feel like you are nothing.

 

When I read more into the MacArthur Meadows Amendment and that sexual assault could be seen as a "pre-existing condition," I couldn't help but swell up with tears. This amendment is an attack on women and those who cannot help their suffering. How is a mammogram, a C-Section, the most traumatic experience of your life, a sexual assault, considered a

"pre-existing condition?" 

 

How is the care to help you throughout the aftermath of pain, worry and mental paralysis and further treatment to help you be denied? How could a person do that? I can tell you one thing, it is a person of greed, of hate, of privilege who is denying you your right. The one thing that I can recommend, at this moment, is that we cannot give up. We must support each other, rally in our communities, voice our anger and to never be silent.

 

The next step for the GOP is to get this attack on a human’s right to live and afford the care needed, is to pass through the Senate. We encourage you to contact your state senators and express whole-heartedly, your disapproval of this bill. Remember, silence is dangerous. In this instance, silence could ultimately silence one too many. 

 

I may never meet you but I want you to know, you are my family.

As your sister, I owe you an apology.

I wish I could have worked harder to help create a better world for you.

 

I am sorry that you feel alone right now.

I am sorry that you feel betrayed by your people,

your government and your community.

I am sorry that our society trivializes your experiences.

I am sorry that our justice system silences your voice and denies you justice.

I am sorry that the people who represent us ignore your pain.

I am sorry that the resources which are available to you are so limited.

I am sorry that our culture has victimized you and taken your power.

I am sorry that our society has blamed you for your trauma.

I am so, so sorry.

 

I am sorry for this miscarriage of justice and for the nation,

which fails you in your most desperate time of need.

 

To my brothers and sisters:

Your voice matters. Your body matters. Your life matters.

You live courageously, Brave One. You have survived and that is the most radical form of resistance there is. You have proven that despite the odds, your power and flame are eternal.

 

Your experience is not a “pre-existing condition.”

You are more than your experiences of trauma and

a checked box on a questionnaire.

You have more worth and more power than they want you to believe.

You have a voice and a place in our world.

 

Apologies cannot change the circumstances but action can.

I stand with you.

I will do better for you.

I will help change our world for you.

I will survive along side you.

 

 

 

 

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