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Porter ex-wife: Strength doesn't 'inoculate a person against abuse'

Colbie Holderness, one of the women who have gone public with allegations of spousal abuse by a former top White Hous...

Posted: Feb 13, 2018 2:03 PM
Updated: Feb 13, 2018 2:03 PM

Colbie Holderness, one of the women who have gone public with allegations of spousal abuse by a former top White House aide, wrote in a piece published Monday evening that abuse affects many different types of people.

"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," Holderness wrote in a Washington Post op-ed.

White House staff secretary Rob Porter resigned last week after news reports detailed accusations from his ex-wives about abuse they had endured from him, which he denied. As the reports came out, the White House initially backed Porter, and in comments Friday, President Donald Trump did not express sympathy with the women and said Porter expressed innocence "very strongly."

White House officials baffled by Trump's conflicting stances on Rob Porter

Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway addressed the issue Sunday during an appearance on CNN's "State of the Union," saying she had no reason not to believe the women accusing Porter of abuse.

In her piece responding to Conway, Holderness said she appreciated Conway "saying that she at least did not not believe us" but was troubled by another response Conway had made in the interview.

When asked about concern that White House communications director Hope Hicks might be in danger because she is said to have been dating Porter, Conway said she does not "worry about her in that respect."

"In the case of Hope, I rarely met somebody so strong with such excellent instincts and loyalty and smarts," Conway said.

Pressed on the possible implication that strong women do not endure abuse, Conway said there was "no question" that many women are abused and she spoke against the stigma around abuse that prevents some people from coming forward. She said Hicks has a "great support system" and went on to say that people who can help remove barriers to ending abuse should do so.

"These are societal scourges that preceded this White House, that will follow this White House, but those who are in a position to do something about it ought to, and not just once or twice a month in some scintillating story," Conway said.

Holderness said Conway's statement "implies that those who have been in abusive relationships are not strong."

"I beg to differ," Holderness said, noting that women demonstrate strength while surviving and trying to move on safely from abuse.

She also noted that abuse happens to people with strong support systems and can be hard for people to detect in a coworker day to day.

"Abuse comes in many forms," Holderness wrote. "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 r-sum- and background."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 36287

Reported Deaths: 1249
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds299254
DeSoto195920
Madison148439
Jones122449
Harrison117716
Rankin112619
Neshoba104677
Forrest103843
Lauderdale96681
Scott82415
Jackson79819
Washington73713
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Lee62822
Oktibbeha61928
Grenada6049
Warren60021
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Lamar5837
Wayne56519
Yazoo5607
Lowndes54817
Leflore53456
Lincoln53335
Lafayette5064
Pike50520
Sunflower5048
Monroe46135
Panola4546
Covington4465
Simpson4433
Bolivar41218
Tate39213
Attala38624
Newton37610
Adams35820
Pontotoc3556
Marion34512
Claiborne30811
Pearl River30332
Winston30111
Chickasaw30019
Marshall2923
Jasper2816
Noxubee2799
Walthall2708
Clay26111
Union25412
Smith25212
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Lawrence2132
Yalobusha2089
Tallahatchie1954
Kemper18414
Carroll18211
Montgomery1793
Calhoun1705
Humphreys16910
Hancock14813
Itawamba1478
Tippah14611
Webster13411
Jefferson1283
Prentiss1274
Jefferson Davis1254
Tunica1253
George1233
Greene11610
Amite1123
Alcorn1072
Tishomingo1061
Quitman1011
Wilkinson989
Perry914
Stone772
Choctaw764
Franklin542
Sharkey480
Benton470
Issaquena101
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 49892

Reported Deaths: 1077
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson6746170
Mobile4904140
Montgomery4547112
Tuscaloosa269053
Madison22689
Marshall198011
Shelby169125
Lee159637
Morgan13385
Baldwin127711
Walker107532
Elmore106721
Etowah101114
Dallas10029
DeKalb9677
Franklin93816
Autauga69815
Russell6860
Unassigned67928
Chambers67730
Butler65229
Limestone6393
Tallapoosa63069
Cullman6156
Houston6077
Lauderdale5776
St. Clair5443
Calhoun5155
Colbert5096
Escambia4888
Lowndes48422
Pike4795
Jackson4352
Coffee4284
Covington41612
Talladega4017
Barbour3992
Dale3951
Bullock37810
Hale35423
Marengo35411
Chilton3312
Blount3201
Clarke3176
Wilcox3038
Winston2995
Sumter29213
Marion29014
Pickens2746
Randolph2639
Monroe2603
Perry2502
Conecuh2318
Bibb2241
Macon2199
Choctaw21712
Greene1989
Henry1553
Washington1488
Lawrence1360
Crenshaw1323
Cherokee1247
Geneva980
Lamar891
Clay852
Fayette851
Coosa661
Cleburne451
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