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.