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Voices / Letters from readers

Trump presidency injurious to women’s health

Any woman — and there are legions of us — who has experienced sexual violence at any time in her life knows that the effects reach far beyond the psychological, creating physiological responses to retrieved memories and perceived threats that can be injurious to a woman’s health.

And any woman who has been paying attention to the statements and actions of the current commander-in-chief may feel these triggers weekly, daily, or even by the hour.

How a self-proclaimed sexual predator who is proud of what he perceives as manly exploits made it to the White House is baffling to this day, and speaks volumes to the entrenched subordination of females in this country in matters of authority and power.

What is less obvious is how women react to this presidency, with all its forms of gender bias, specifically against women.

Legislating cuts to subsidized day care; allowing rape to be considered a pre-existing condition; withholding birth control; gutting our public-education system (which disproportionately affects single-mother households) are not the only casualties of this administration. Although formal studies have yet to be released, it is evident through conversation and the observations of medical practitioners that the stress of a Trump White House is increasing the number and urgency of women’s medical needs across the country.

There is comfort, and the proverbial strength, in numbers. The recent Me, Too campaign is a clear demonstration of a newfound boldness in even discussing sexual assault. Rather than cowering, many women are choosing activism, and they are finding allies in men as well.

The presidency remains the highest office in the land, and the trickle-down effects of a misogynist-in-chief and his like-minded appointees are profound.

However, we can hope that by pushing back, by holding all propagators of sexual exploitation and violence against women accountable, and eventually setting national standards of respect for all genders, this administration and what it represents — white-male domination — will be a whisper in the wind, short-lived, and ultimately irrelevant.

Marguerite Serkin
Brattleboro

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Originally published in The Commons issue #433 (Wednesday, November 8, 2017). This story appeared on page D1.

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