President Donald Trump has constantly added to the belief that any woman who comes out with allegations of sexual assault against a man is not to be believed.
The trend started even before his presidency, when he called every woman who had accused him of abuse or misconduct a liar. Tragically, it also did not come as a shock when he defended Roy Moore, the Republican candidate for Senate who is in the middle of a raging controversy involving sexual assault and pedophilia.
The Trump administration has also scrapped laws protecting victims of assault. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos believed the Obama-era laws posed more risk to the accused student than it helped the victim. Therefore, she allowed colleges to set their own standards of evidence that could be accepted in such cases.
It is not just in this one aspect that Trump seems intent on trampling upon women. His first executive order restrained health clinics around the world from even talking about abortion, taking away the rights of women to make decisions for their bodies. In October, the Trump administration formally backed a bill banning abortion after 20 weeks.
That is not all. In August, the Trump administration scrapped a provision introduced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Six years in the making, the initiative would have required employers to provide information on the salaries of employees, broken down by class and ethnicity. This would have enabled women and people of color to understand if they were being underpaid, and then lodge a formal complaint.
It is also important to note how Trump’s failed American Health Care Act, which only appears to benefit the rich and men, contained an amendment allowing states to opt out of protections for pre-existing conditions. To put it simply, it would have allowed insurance companies to deny care to customers who have been raped, abused, assaulted, impregnated or have postpartum depression.
Moreover, companies would have also been able to deny coverage for gynecological services and mammograms.
Let’s not forget Trump's earlier executive order on immigration, which directed the Department of Homeland Security to compile and publicize “information regarding the number and types of acts of gender-based violence against women, including so-called 'honor killings,' in the United States by foreign nationals.”
Along with stereotyping Muslims, the statement was also ironic, given his administration was reportedly preparing to gut the funding for Department of Justice’s Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) grants the time.
In the light of these measures, the administration’s attempt to market Ivanka Trump as a progressive advocate for women’s rights seems as shallow as Trump’s words who, when asked about the flurry of accusations from women against powerful men, said, “Women are very special.”
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters, Eric Thayer