Login

Rob Porter's ex-wife delivers powerful message on abuse victims.

It's not just Trump and his supporters. Denial of abuse is a deeper issue for our society.

How many times have we heard this before? How many women complain of abuse only to be ignored or threatened. After Nicole Brown Simpson was found brutally murdered, America found out that a great football hero had been abusing his wife for years. The police made frequent trips to the Simpson house and usually left after a discussion with Simpson. And people asked "Why didn't they do anything?"

We're still asking the same question. Even before the #MeToo movement caught fire last year, the list of famous men arrested for domestic violence and sexual assault was exhaustive. Most of them continued to have careers. But now so many have been engulfed in scandal that reasonable people are beginning to question whether it's gone too far and if innocent men aren't being unfairly targeted?

Then along comes an ex-wife - actually TWO ex-wives - with not only allegations of abuse but pictures to back them up. And apparently, we're not supposed to believe them either.

It's not surprising that Trump would believe the accused over the accuser. For one thing, he's been working with Porter. And Trump's first wife also made allegations of physical abuse during their divorce proceedings.

But this isn't about Trump and his treatment of women. It's about the desire within our entire society to turn a blind eye to abuse.

Jennie Willoughby hits on this in her piece for Time Magazine (http://time.com/5143589/rob-porter-ex-wife-trump-domestic-violence/):

"Everyone wants to talk about how the White House and former colleagues defended Rob. Of course they did! They valued and respected him. The truth would be dissonant to everything they believed to be true about the man they knew. The truth would be devastating. And denial is easier than devastation......I think the issue here is deeper than whether Trump, or General John Kelly, or Sarah Huckabee Sanders, or Senator Orrin Hatch, or Hope Hicks, or whether anyone else believes me or defends Rob. Society as a whole has a fear of addressing our worst secrets. (Just ask any African-American citizen). It’s as if we have a societal blind spot that creates an obstacle to understanding. Society as a whole doesn’t acknowledge the reality of abuse. The tendency to avoid, deny, or cover up abuse is never really about power, or money, or an old boys’ club. It is deeper than that. Rather than embarrass an abuser, society is subconsciously trained to question a victim of abuse. I would call it an ignorant denial based on the residual, puritan, collective agreement that abuse is uncomfortable to talk about."

She makes a good point. Is she correct? Is it all about "societal conditioning" as she alleges? Maybe that's part of it. Maybe the reflexive denial is about our own personal judgement. After all, how could you have a friend or a co-worker who beats his wife and not even know it? Men who beat women are monsters. You could never like or admire someone capable of such evil, right? And if you're a woman, you could certainly never allow that to happen to YOU. You would see the signs of an abuser. You wouldn't marry someone like that. You wouldn't hire someone like that. You wouldn't trust your kids with someone like that.

But monsters wear masks. The men who prey on women and children are very good at lying. At covering their tracks. At convincing the outside world that they are honorable and decent.

So, when someone you've known and admire is accused, you have 2 choices: either admit to yourself that you've been misled by an abuser, or believe that the victim is lying.

Too often, we choose to side with the abuser. Because it's easier. And it makes us feel better. Which is the most important thing after all.

Until it happens to YOU.

My favorite quote from Ms. Willoughby's essay: "There it is again. The words “mere allegation” and “falsely accused” meant to imply that I am a liar. That Colbie Holderness is a liar. That the work Rob was doing in the White House was of higher value than our mental, emotional or physical wellbeing. That his professional contributions are worth more than the truth. That abuse is something to be questioned and doubted." I thought of this each time Sarah Sanders said, "mere allegation" at the press briefing today.

'The men who prey on women and children are very good at lying.'

So good in fact that they can even convince themselves.

It's easy to get emotional and judgemental over some pictures, without the timeline and details to go along with them. Once I was accused,by a woman I never even met (much less knew), of assault, l choose not to believe ANYTHING shoved in my face without knowing ALL the facts. The court of public opinion is NOT a court of law, unless your motive is to simply be believed, which simply brings me to a quote I heard as a little kid decades ago either from a movie, or from my father: "A sucker is born every minute". Yes, I know it's hard to believe for many, but women also lie. Sorry, a picture alone won't cut it for me anymore. I learned my lesson.

Our society has been feeding off the victimization train for so long that I don't believe any victims either until all facts come out. Too many seek revenge for hurt feelings or to make a quick buck. In an age of immediate news and information, it's easy to play victim when you are not, accuse someone just for your own gratification. The boy crying wolf too many times has created a society of winning and disbelief. This hurts those who are truly victims but with immaturity and selfishness on the rise, these attitudes won't chance anytime soon with a campaign of victims crawling out of the woodwork. Sorry but that's the reality and until we all except responsibility for our actions and the maturity to make truly moral decisions with the fear of God in our hearts, nothing will change but society gets worse. Sodom and Gomorrah should have taught us this!

For some reason after working in a homeless shelter, over 30 years ago, I did some research on men who mistreat women. Don't remember the numbers but I do remember that the abuse was of epidemic proportions and much more prevalent than people realize. Something like 1 of every less-than-ten men. I just remember it was a statistic that I never expected. Erick, would you have any research on that? I think in previous generations it was much more accepted for some reason - probably because the women had no other means of support and just had to endure it - especially if they had kids and then the examples for the kids was to continue on in the perverted tradition.

One in four women suffer domestic abuse. One in seven men suffer domestic abuse. Telling will put the shame where it belongs--on the perpetrator.

Let me first say I do not condone violence against anyone for any reason except to stop the abuse of a victim. These issues happened prior to this man working in the White House. He used to work for Senator Hatch. It has come to the point where there is no redemption for anyone. Apparently the man was not arrested or at least did not do any jail time. I am sure he made restitution in the divorce. I am sure he paid out big. But now where is he going to get a job? These issues were worked out years ago. So now, even after making restitution for a long past event people are now required to be unemployable and will end up on public assistance. This public shaming of long past events needs to end. Let people make restitution then let them get on with lives.

One of the reasons people have a hard time believing is because there have been high profile cases where the accuser lied. Anyone who has worked in or around the family court system also knows that accusations made during a divorce are always suspect - sad but true. I think we can be forgiven for retaining a healthy skepticism. Note - healthy skepticism is not disbelief.

Stories