When I learned that the most recent version of the American Health Care Act allows insurers to classify rape as a preexisting condition (and thus puts survivors at risk for increased costs and denial of coverage), my initial inclination was to pull out a calculator.
I started typing in numbers. After an older student chose to rape me during my second week in college, the bills had quickly started piling up. I paid for doctors’ visits, weekly therapy appointments and medication to treat my PTSD, anxiety and depression. I had medical insurance at the time, but that only covered part of the expenses. I had tried to avoid thinking about the number of bills I was receiving from medical providers because it stung too much. I hadn’t chosen to bear these costs, and every penny I spent was a reminder that I didn’t have a say in any of this — the rape itself, as well as the aftermath. I had hated that I was losing my savings and forcing my family to spend so much on me.
Still, the medical bills were only part of it. For me, there were too many extra expenses to count. My rent doubled when I moved to a single dorm room to live by myself, because I couldn’t sleep unless I locked the door and pushed furniture up against it. I shelled out the gas money to drive to my parents’ house an hour away most weekends because I feared that the same person might find me again. I extended my classes into winter break and stayed on to finish my school work at additional cost while everyone else went home to their families. The numbers kept getting higher and higher.
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