From a piece by Jodi Jacobson at RH Reality Check
"Forcible rape" is back in the news, this time in New Mexico, where the administration of Governor Susana Martinez is proposing to require a "forcible rape" means-test for women seeking childcare assistance. It appears New Mexico is now officially part of the fundamentalist right-wing effort to redefine rape that would leave many thousands of rape victims vulnerable and ineligible for state support.
A proclamation signed by Martinez in March designating August "Sexual Awareness Month" contains this passage:
WHEREAS, FIFTEEN PERCENT OF NEW MEXICAN ADULTS HAVE BEEN FORCIBLY RAPED AT LEAST ONCE IN THEIR LIFETIMES....The article continues:
The proclamation claims to be concerned about sexual violence and coercion, but, for one thing, fails to even mention sexual abuse of children and teens, two groups for which sexual abuse, rape, and incest are critical problems and often shrouded in the kind of secrecy that enables and perpetuates such abuse. The omission of children and teens is both curious and troubling if for no other reason than that surveys reveal that in 2010, the rate of sexual assault for these children and teens was higher in New Mexico than it was nationally.
The revisions appear on a state website on page 7 of the proposed new regulations—Proposed revisions to Child Care Assistance Regulations (8.15.2 NMAC)—and would affect poor and low-income women seeking childcare assistance in order to work or attend school or both. New Mexico's childcare assistance program provides direct payments to approved childcare providers for those children whose parents qualify. The law requires that women seeking childcare assistance prove that they have done everything possible to obtain child support from (in this case) the father of the child or children for whom they are seeking childcare assisance. One exception to the requirement for child support is in the case of rape; the state did not previously—for what are to most people obvious reasons—require women to seek child support from their rapist.
Now, however, unless a woman who conceived and gave birth to a child as a result of rape can prove that she was "forcibly raped," she will be denied assistance for childcare needed for work or education.Jacobson goes on to explain the negative effects the changes will have on women by applying such a narrow definition of rape, and forcing them to now prove the manner in which they were raped and whether or not it was a "forcible" rape, and on single mothers who are struggling economically already who will be unable to receive assistance because of the new definitions.
Here is a related article at Think Progress