Rob Porter’s ex-wife: “Being strong” doesn’t protect you from abuse

Colbie Holderness speaks out in a Washington Post op-ed

Colbie Holderness, the first wife of former White House staff secretary Rob Porter, is taking a stand against Kellyanne Conway’s assertion that strong women don’t get abused.

Conway, appearing on CNN’s State of the Union, said that she does not fear for White House Communications Director Hope Hicks — who has reportedly been dating Porter — because of Hicks’s “loyalty and smarts.” Holderness felt compelled to respond.

In an op-ed published Monday night by the Washington Post, Holderness wrote passionately about how domestic abuse can happen to anyone:

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.

Holderness explained that she never imagined she would be in an abusive relationship, and that it took her years to regain the confidence she had lost over the course of her entanglement with Porter.

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.

Holderness spoke out in support of survivors of domestic abuse more generally, citing hardships she had experienced, including not being believed by many of the people she first told, including members of the clergy, and having to take an extended leave from graduate school.

Holderness’s accusations of abuse were first made public on February 6, when the Daily Mail reported allegations from both of Porter’s ex-wives (Holderness and Jennifer Willoughby). In response, White House press …read more

Source:: Vox – All

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