Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

October 25, 2012

Letter: Lyons' bill would repeal coverage for victims' disorders

The Andover Townsman

---- — Editor, Townsman:

As a young woman in college, I have seen first-hand how much emphasis is placed on students being safe. One of the most important topics has indisputably been on responsible sexual behavior, and how to protect yourself from sexual violence. Should anyone on campus be the victim of a sex crime - including rape or attempted rape - students are encouraged not to suffer silently, but to instead seek out help. This is because rape is not just a physical attack - it is an attack on one’s mind and spirit.

Why am I writing a letter about rape? Because I am incredibly disgusted by legislation written by State Rep. Jim Lyons. The bill I’m talking about, House Bill 3353, would repeal section 47B of Chapter 175 of our state law - the law requiring insurers to cover rape victims’ mental and social disorders.

Mental illness is no different than a physical illness. And the scars left from rape on one’s mind and spirit are as real as the scars left on one’s body. We as a society should be creating a strong support structure for these victims, and we certainly shouldn’t be weakening what already exists as support.

Supporting rape victims is one issue that Democrats and Republicans can agree upon. If denying services to rape victims is on Lyons’ list of priorities, then I think Democrats and Republicans can also agree that it is time for him to go.

Grace McDaniel

North Andover