Every time Donald Trump or someone in his administration tries to explain their rationale for disbelieving the victims of Rob Porter, which had been disclosed repeatedly for months before anyone took it seriously (and only then because the media found out and informed the rest of the country), they step deeper and deeper into an enraging quagmire of the culture that supports and excuses violence against women.
The richness of this tweet cannot be understated. As a reminder, here are just a few things the president has believed without due process of law:
- Hillary Clinton poured literal acid on her email servers.
- Barack Obama was born in Kenya and faked a birth certificate from Hawaii.
- Joe Scarborough of Morning Joe murdered one of his interns.
- Bill and Hillary Clinton also murdered a staffer.
- A Muslim man accused of terrorism, before ever seeing a day in court, deserves “the death penalty.”
- 81% of white homicide victims are killed at the hands of black Americans.
- Ted Cruz’s father helped to assassinate JFK.
- Hillary Clinton colluded with Russia to lose an election.
- The Central Park Five, despite DNA evidence that proved them innocent, were still guilty.
- Undocumented immigrants are rapists and drug dealers.
But what deserves due process are the denials, universally, of men accused of domestic violence. For that, Trump needs a judge’s decree of guilt before denying the accused access to the most sensitive and classified information in the country.
In case Trump or anyone else is unaware, the lives that are shattered in the most violent and extreme ways by domestic violence are not those who are accused, it’s those who are victimized and disbelieved when they report. The number one cause of death for pregnant women is murder by an intimate partner. 20 people, of all genders, are victims of violence by an intimate partner every minute in this country. Nearly half of all homicides in which the victims are women in the United States are caused by intimate partner violence.
Forgive us if we have trouble seeing the accused as the true victims whose lives are shattered. Rob Porter lost his job, and three women in the U.S. die every day because of domestic violence. Forgive us if our sympathy and our focus lies elsewhere.
The statistics around domestic violence are alarming, but the most important fact to remember behind every death of a victim of intimate partner violence is that it could not have happened without help. No one but the abuser may have fired the shot or landed the blow that killed his victim, but every single person who has excused, overlooked, or dismissed the signs and stories of that abuser’s violence or any other’s helped. They helped to keep other victims silent, afraid of the backlash from the public and their abuser once they disclose. They helped to retraumatize victims who try to report, keeping them vulnerable and feeling helpless. They helped to convince the victim that her abuser was right when he said she was crazy and being overly dramatic. They helped to support this culture that places the onus for abuse on the victims instead of the victimizers.
For anyone who hasn’t already seen it, here’s a description of the story Trump’s first wife, Ivana, told about a day inside her marriage after Trump’s hair transplant surgery went wrong in 1989, as stated during a court deposition.
‘Donald held back Ivana’s arms and began to pull out fistfuls of hair from her own scalp, as if to mirror the pain he felt from his own operation. He tore off her clothes and unzipped his own pants.
‘“Then he jams his penis inside her for the first time in more than sixteen months. Ivana is terrified… It is a violent assault,” Hurt writes. “According to versions she repeats to some of her closest confidantes, ‘he raped me.’”
‘Following the incident, Ivana ran upstairs, hid behind a locked door, and remained there “crying for the rest of night.” When she returned to the master bedroom in the morning, he was there.
‘“As she looks in horror at the ripped-out hair scattered all over the bed, he glares at her and asks with menacing casualness: ‘Does it hurt?’” Hurt writes.’
So much for that whole “accusations shatter lives” thing, huh? After all, Trump’s live or career wasn’t shattered. He ended up being president.
Twitter had their own reaction to the tweet. See some of their responses below:
About that… pic.twitter.com/9fh1cRl0Xv
— Brian Zane (@zmanbrianzane) February 10, 2018
— Cornelia (@PaladinCornelia) February 10, 2018
Featured image via Getty/Pool