As of Wednesday, New Mexico’s Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD) is considering a positive new amendment to its child-care assistance policy, which would exempt survivors of rape and incest from filing child-support claims against absent parents. Current policy dictates that all parents, if they want to receive state funds for child care, must file child-support claims against the other parent.
The amendment initially sparked outrage when it became known that the exemption would cover victims of “forcible rape” and incest. This would mean that anyone whose rape is not considered “forcible” (for example, anyone who is physically or mentally disabled, or who was unconscious or under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time) would still be required to contact the absent parent. Additionally, it would burden women in New Mexico with having to prove that their assault matched the state’s definition of “forced.” If they could not do so, they would be required to contact their rapists for child support, in turn granting their abusers control over their lives again.