I’ve Been Hit Again. This Time, by the GOP.

To the Trump administration, the GOP, and the indifferent: You have let me down.


On May 4, members of the GOP were all smiles as the American Health Care Act, or Trumpcare, was passed by the House and set to take the place of the Affordable Care Act. There are individuals who can laugh with me, smile at me, look me in the eyes and call me their friend, or even family, who support the passing of this bill. There are also those who are apathetic to this administration and the passing of the health care bill. All of these people make me feel ill.

With the new health care act, the future holds many changes. The AHCA would also leave others like me, who were eligible to receive coverage under Obamacare, without insurance. Among other things, the AHCA would increase insurance prices for low income individuals and removes protections for people with pre-existing health conditions.

According to VOX, “Under the AHCA, the coverage expansion would stay in place until the end of 2019, but no newly eligible people could be added to Medicaid rolls after that. Because people on Medicaid often cycle in and out of the program as their employment situation and incomes change, that would lead to a drop in Medicaid coverage.” If the AHCA passes, those who seek treatment for post-traumatic stress syndrome — otherwise known as PTSD — will be seen as having a pre-existing condition.

The AHCA passing through the House affects me personally, as I am a survivor of domestic abuse. On the fourth year of my marriage, my now ex-husband began physically abusing me. For years, I endured violence that left me with bruises and injuries that sometimes drew blood. It was only through provisions of Obamacare that I received help. But I, and many like me, still need help.

I wrote extensively about my relationship several months ago, which proved to be cathartic and gave me a platform to tell my story. People who have been in abusive relationships suffer after effects that could require medical and mental health care. With the passing of this bill, I see that the needs of victims and survivor’s are not a concern.

A dark bruise left from my ex-husband’s punches.

I was not aware of how the bill would affect me until I read an article in New York Magazine a few hours after it was passed. When I read the words, “In addition to PTSD stemming from sexual assault and domestic violence, other conditions like postpartum depression and having gotten a cesarean section could also be considered pre-existing conditions,” I froze.

My eyes started to water and the tears would not stop flowing down my cheeks; the very cheeks that were pressed onto my mattress as my ex-husband was smothering my face with a pillow or with his bare hands, pushing the back of my skull until I was short of breath.

According to Bustle magazine, excluding people with pre-existing conditions reverts back to the days before Obamacare. These discriminatory practices will be legal if it passes the Senate. “It also leaves survivors of sexual assault and domestic abuse particularly vulnerable to health care discrimination because of the mental and physical health conditions — like post-traumatic stress disorder and sexually transmitted diseases — which often result from such violent situations.”

This administration, its supporters, and the apathetic are telling me that this is alright. It’s alright if you need mental health support, but you’re not going to be covered, Brigette.

If I need therapy for PTSD, which is defined as “a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault,” I may not be able to get that help through therapy because I have a “pre-existing condition” and might not be able to afford insurance.

This means I won’t be able to understand why I fell into that cycle of abuse and stayed. I will be on my own, trying desperately to find answers as to how a man could possibly lay his hands on a woman repeatedly and in various ways.

Bruises left on my upper arm from my ex’s punches.

Under Obamacare, I was covered. I’ve never made a lot of money, either as a single person, or during my relationship with joint income. While I endured violence at the hands of my ex-husband, I was able to go to free group sessions at the YWCA, which I went to in secret. I’m comforted knowing that a place like the YWCA is available to women in need.

Non-profit domestic violence support and outreach groups have made statements in opposition of the AHCA and in solidarity with the people they advocate for:

This link is to contact senators to stop the AHCA before it is decided on through the Senate.

Along with tweets, Futures Without Violence, a non-profit that provides “programs, policies, and campaigns” that assist in ending violence against women, also released a statement on May 4, the day that the AHCA was passed by the House. The statement reads, “As national organizations working to end domestic and sexual violence in the United States, we are very disappointed that the House of Representatives passed a bill that puts the lives, safety and health of victims at risk.”

According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of four American women have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner during their lifetime, with 70 percent of victims first experiencing abuse before the age of 25. Nearly 23 million women have been the victim of rape or attempted rape in their lifetime, with 40 percent experiencing the assault before the age of 18.

Nail marks from my ex husband digging into my skin left blood-filled marks on my hand

Being in a room with my domestic violence support group — with women that disclosed they were also low-income — was hard to be a part of, but necessary for me to know that I was not alone. We were getting help. But some of us would miss sessions or show up late, as many of the women had young children, full-time jobs, child custody conflicts, or needed to be home at a certain time for the boyfriends or husbands who were still beating them. Unfortunately, attendance was strict since there is a long waiting list and members were kicked out without exception after three tardies or absences. But I understand now why they had to do this.

The sessions were free, but I needed something that was more flexible with my work and school schedule and, if possible, one-on-one therapy. Since many of these women are in my same situation financially, when I watched the AHCA pass, I felt the weight and suffering of countless survivors and victims on my chest. I began to breathe heavily and I questioned how anyone could approve taking away coverage for the after effects of domestic violence. I thought of them as well.

Several months later, I began attending a mental health facility where people of all walks of life as well as addicts, recovering addicts, and students could see a nurse practitioner, attend therapy sessions and receive other services for free as long as they fell into a low-income bracket.

I had access to anti-depressants and anxiety medication that assisted my mental and emotional state during the time of the abuse. I was also able to see a therapist who helped me analyze and process my emotions at the time, as well. This was all offered through Covered California, which turned into Medi-Cal and stemmed from my qualification under Obamacare. I needed the help and I was able to get it because of Obamacare.

Now, for me and 24 million Americans, that help is in jeopardy. If the AHCA passes, I will not be able to receive the benefits of free individual therapy sessions. I will not be able to pay out of pocket for such services. I am now considered to have a pre-existing condition for any service I seek in association with my abuse. This means I will not be able to take the steps I need to heal mentally and emotionally from the deep abuse I endured during my seven year relationship.

I’ve done all of the research to find an answer as to why I stayed in my abusive relationship. I read about what other domestic violence survivors have gone through and I’ve exhausted the resources that the internet has given me. No amount of text I read will assist me in fully healing. Only professional help will.

So, to the GOP, Trump supporters, and the indifferent: you have hurt me. Not only me, but the individuals who have survived black eyes, looked at the changing colors of their bruises, and have aided their own concussions. We all have permanent emotional and mental scars that need a pathway toward healing. We did not ask to be abused. We did not ask to be considered an individual with a pre-existing condition. You have put us in that bracket.

If you do care about people about me, you will vote against the Obamacare repeal. You will contact your senators and congressman and fight for people like me, and the many others who will be lost without health insurance.