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In Response to the overturning of Roe v. Wade - The Reality of Reproductive Violence

Today, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, ending the constitutional right for women in America to access abortions. This ruling is devastating for survivors of sexual violence.

Seven years ago, a South Asian woman developed a careful plan to flee her deeply violent marriage. A few days before she planned to flee, she learned she was pregnant. “It was bound to happen”, she told her Daya advocate. Her husband had been raping her for the last several years. It took her 3 more years before she could try to flee again.

Four years ago a South Asian woman became pregnant when her husband forced her to have unprotected sex. He blamed her, didn’t allow her to leave their home, and controlled her access to food throughout her pregnancy. With no prenatal care, she later found out that her child would be born incredibly ill, in and out of hospitals for years to follow.

Two years ago, a South Asian woman who previously fled her abusive husband started receiving violent sexual threats from a seemingly supportive relative. He said he deserved her body because he “saved” her from her husband. He broke into her apartment and raped her. She told her Daya counselor that because her child was sleeping in the next room, she held back her screams.

Every day, violent partners throw away their partner’s birth control, they beat them in response to feeling the strings of an IUD, they relentlessly question the one-inch scar left by a birth control implant, they laugh at the idea of wearing a condom. The “sex” that survivors experience is violent. They are drugged, forced, threatened. There is no intimacy, no love, no consent.

Some of these women chose to continue their pregnancies.

Some chose to get safe and confidential abortions.

All of them had a non-judgmental, supportive place to make the choice for themselves.

Like a gun on the nightstand, a dresser pushed against the door, hands wrapped tightly around their necks – today’s decision ending abortion access is yet another tool forcing survivors to relinquish control of their bodies in order to save their lives.

We cannot achieve equity, freedom, and safety while simultaneously creating barriers that block these very values. Sexual violence will not end if survivors are stripped of even one option for safety and autonomy.

Eighty-five percent of AAPI women agree that women should have the right to make their own reproductive choices. And, among all Americans eight out of ten support a legal right to abortion. Daya stands in solidarity with our community, survivors of all backgrounds, and our partners nationwide in regrouping from this loss, recentering the critical need for reproductive rights, and recommitting to our fight for gender justice.

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