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N.M. Gov. Martinez Requests Removal of 'Forcible Rape' Language in State Policy After Complaints

N.M. Gov. Martinez Requests Removal of 'Forcible Rape' Language in State Policy After Complaints

September 21, 2012 — New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez (R) on Wednesday requested that her administration remove the term "forcible rape" from a new state policy after the Huffington Post reported that the language had been included, the Huffington Post reports (Bassett, Huffington Post, 9/20).

New Mexico's Children, Youth and Families Department was considering changing its child care assistance policy to state that survivors of "forcible rape" and incest would be exempt from filing child support claims against the absent parent.

Advocates who work with survivors said the policy would re-victimize women whose rape was not legally defined as "forcible," such as statutory rape survivors, by forcing them to contact their rapists to qualify for state support (KOB, 9/20).

CYFD spokesperson Enrique Knell explained Martinez's reasons for requesting to remove the language, saying, "It's redundant, unnecessary, and she doesn't support its usage." Knell said the term was being considered in the state policy because FBI still uses it, and it is also sometimes used to establish paternity.

Adriann Barboa, field director with Strong Families of New Mexico, said, "Rape is rape," adding, "Let's not move backward toward victim blaming" (Huffington Post, 9/20).