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US News Opinions | Rob Porter is my ex-husband. Here’s what you should know about abuse.

11:45  13 february  2018
11:45  13 february  2018 Source:   washingtonpost.com

'He punched me in the face': The shocking allegations of abuse against the top White House staffer who just resigned

  'He punched me in the face': The shocking allegations of abuse against the top White House staffer who just resigned White House staff secretary Rob Porter resigned Wednesday after his two ex-wives publicly alleged years of physical and emotional abuse.Colbie Holderness and Jennifer Willoughby alleged that Porter physically and mentally abused them during their marriages. Holderness, married to Porter from 2003 to 2008, provided photos of a black eye she claimed she suffered from Porter. Willoughby, married to Porter from 2009 to 2013, provided a copy of a 2010 restraining order she filed against Porter.

Molly Worthen (@MollyWorthen) is the author, most recently, of “Apostles of Reason: The Crisis of Authority in American Evangelicalism,” an associate professor of history at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and a contributing opinion writer.

Molly Worthen (@MollyWorthen) is the author, most recently, of “Apostles of Reason: The Crisis of Authority in American Evangelicalism,” an associate professor of history at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and a contributing opinion writer.

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly (R) and White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter (L)walk to Marine One prior to departure from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, August 4, 2017. © SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images White House Chief of Staff John Kelly (R) and White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter (L)walk to Marine One prior to departure from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, August 4, 2017.

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said Sunday that she has no reason not to believe statements that Jennifer Willoughby and I have made about our ex-husband, former White House aide Rob Porter. I actually appreciated her saying that she at least did not not believe us.

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But I was dismayed when Conway, appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union,” went on to say that she does not fear for White House Communications Director Hope Hicks, who has reportedly been dating Porter. “I’ve rarely met somebody so strong with such excellent instincts and loyalty and smarts.”

Borrowing Conway’s words, I have no reason not to believe her when she says that Hicks is a strong woman. But her statement implies that those who have been in abusive relationships are not strong.

I beg to differ.

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Recognizing and surviving in an abusive relationship take strength. The abuse can be terrifying, life-threatening and almost constant. Or it can ebb and flow, with no violence for long periods. It’s often the subtler forms of abuse that inflict serious, persistent damage while making it hard for the victim to see the situation clearly.

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a close up of a man and a woman looking at the camera: Images of Colbie Holderness after an alleged incident with her then-husband Rob Porter in the early 2000s. © Courtesy of Colbie Holderness/Courtesy of Colbie Holderness Images of Colbie Holderness after an alleged incident with her then-husband Rob Porter in the early 2000s. For me, living in constant fear of Rob’s anger and being subjected to his degrading tirades for years chipped away at my independence and sense of self-worth. I walked away from that relationship a shell of the person I was when I went into it, but it took me a long time to realize the toll that his behavior was taking on me. (Rob has denied the abuse, but Willoughby and I know what happened.)

Telling others about the abuse takes strength. Talking to family, friends, clergy, counselors and, later, the FBI, I would often find myself struggling to find the words to convey an adequate picture of the situation. When Rob’s now ex- ­girlfriend reached out to both Willoughby and me, she described her relationship in terms we each found familiar, immediately following up her description with “Am I crazy?” Boy, I could identify with that question.

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Then there is the just-as-serious issue of being believed and supported by those you choose to tell. Sometimes people don’t believe you. Sometimes they have difficulty truly understanding what you are trying to tell them. Both Willoughby and I raised our cases with clergy. Both of us had a hard time getting them to fully address the abuse taking place. It wasn’t until I spoke to a professional counselor that I was met with understanding.

Leaving and putting the pieces of your life back together take strength. Willoughby had to obtain a protective order as she was trying to extricate herself from her marriage. I had to take an extended leave from graduate school because I was depressed and unable to complete the work. When I finally left Rob for good, my self-confidence was so destroyed that I was too scared to apply to any jobs other than that of server at a restaurant. It has taken me years to get my professional life back on track.

Victims are often with their abusers for long periods of time. They marry them, become financially intertwined with them, have children with them. There are many reasons people find it difficult to leave. The bottom line is, it takes strength to pull yourself away and start over.

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I never imagined myself in the situation I’m in now — no one could have. I’m not a partisan. I’m not an activist — far from it, in fact. Willoughby and I didn’t seek to tell our stories in such a public way. Rather, others sought us out in the course of investigating Rob.

I also never imagined I would be in an abusive relationship.

Being strong — with excellent instincts and loyalty and smarts — does not inoculate a person against abuse. It doesn’t prevent her from entering into a relationship with an abuser. Abuse often doesn’t manifest itself early on — only later, when you’re in deep and behind closed doors. The really ugly side of Rob’s abuse only came out after we married, following three years of dating.

Abuse comes in many forms. It is visited on the poor and the rich, the least educated and the most, people with a strong and deep network of friends and family and those without a support structure. And an abusive nature is certainly not something most colleagues are able to spot in a professional setting, especially if they are blinded by a stellar résumé and background.

Conway’s statements were made as she was trying to address the good wishes that President Trump sent to Rob, along with his tweets seeming to call into question the allegations and the #MeToo movement overall.

Monday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders again declined to say whether the president believes Willoughby and me. While I cannot say I am surprised, I expected a woman to do better. But Conway and I definitely agree on one thing she said during that interview: “There’s a stigma and a silence surrounding all these issues. . . . Those who are in a position to do something about it ought to.”

Catherine Nevin takes the secret of who pulled the trigger on her husband to her grave - and may be buried alongside victim .
In a final twist to one of the most shocking criminal cases ever seen in Ireland, Catherine Nevin may be buried in the same cemetery plot as the husband she murdered. Nevin owns the plot in Barndarrig Cemetery in Wicklow where Tom was buried and has full legal entitlement to be buried with her husband’s remains. © Provided by Irish Independent Catherine Nevin case A purchase order for plot number 524 shows Nevin gave her address at the time as Jack White’s, Arklow publican. The purchase price is recorded as being IR£118, or approximately €150 today.

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