In April, the Trump administration quietly changed the definition of domestic violence and sexual assault on the Department of Justice website. This act, according to experts, will set back women’s rights 50 years. The new definition recognizes only physical acts of violence. Psychological abuse, coercive control and manipulation, including economic control and restrictions on liberty, are no longer recognized as domestic violence. These are acts of violence that create an atmosphere of fear and lead to physical violence. Failure to recognize these aspects of violence will deny women the safety protection of the courts and financial assistance when living under threat.
This is part of a trend of the devaluation of women’s rights in the U.S. More than one-half of murdered women are killed by an intimate partner. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one-third of women experience psychological abuse. Programs designed to protect women under this kind of threat may no longer be funded.
This is concomitant with the Trump administration seeking to demolish women’s reproductive rights. This is a trend that cannot be rationalized. Why does the Trump administration want to deny protection and rights for half the population of the country while at the same time empowering the other half of the population? Think about this trend when considering your vote both for our representatives in Congress as well as president of the U.S. What kind of future do we want for women, our daughters, sisters, wives and mothers. It is our responsibility to pay attention to the words and practices of our representatives in office and to watch trends in order to vote for representatives who will protect our rights.