by Ruth Riddle:
The recent allegations of domestic abuse against Rob Porter and David Sorensen are disturbing. No one condones domestic abuse. Both men worked in the Trump White House. Neither has been accorded due process. Both have been tried in the court of public opinion.
Colbie Holderness, the first wife of Rob Porter, from 2003 to 2008, alleges physical and emotional abuse. She alleges Rob would frequently push her onto a bed or couch, pin her down and strangle her. She published a picture of a black eye she claims Rob inflicted on their honeymoon. Are there police reports of these incidents? She remarried in 2011, to Skiffington Holderness, a senate staffer for Jim Risch (R-ID). Did he know about the alleged abuse?
Jennifer Willoughby, the second wife of Rob Porter, from 2009 to 2013, alleges emotional abuse, manhandling and physical outbursts. Did she report these incidents to the police? She obtained a restraining order when they separated in 2010. She is a motivational speaker/writer in the D.C. area.
Jessica Corbett, ex-wife of David Sorensen, alleges he repeatedly attacked her during their two-and-a-half year marriage, from December 2014 to September 2017. Did she report these attacks to the authorities? She is engaged to be married to Stephen Greene. She is a political consultant in Portland, ME.
Any man who abuses women is a bad man!! Many women have known such bad men. But, remember, Rob Porter and David Sorensen are only alleged to have abused women. Both men have denied the allegations. There has been no due process for either. The Mainstream Media, the Democrats and the #MeToo movement have convicted them in the court of public opinion. Both have lost their jobs at the White House. Their lives have been damaged.
The two ex-wives of Porter are years late in bringing forth their allegations. Corbett’s alleged abuse is more recent. Generally, the statute of limitations is one year for misdemeanor and three years for felony abuse. What motivated these women to share this information now? Did they realize their allegations would lead to the men’s dismissal? If they wanted the men punished, why didn’t they file their grievances in a court of law? What allegations did they make in the divorce papers? Who filed for divorce?
Over the last year there has been a spate of delayed female allegations against men…from sexual harassment to rape — and, now, domestic abuse. We have heard myriad reasons for the delays: career repercussions, peer pressure to conform, shame, fear, rationalizations in the moment (e.g., what happened was not that bad), etc.
Women must report abuse to authorities in the moment. Women must value themselves above careers and peers. They must learn to identify a violation of their person, whether physical or emotional. Any woman who does not walk away from abuse is complicit. Alcoholics Anonymous calls anyone who supports an alcoholic an enabler. Women who suffer abuse quietly also are enablers.
As President Trump tweeted, “People’s lives are being shattered and destroyed by mere allegations. Some are true and some are false. Some are old and some are new. There is no recovery for someone falsely accused — life and career are gone. Is there no such thing any longer as Due Process? What happened to due process?”
Our legal system is built on the concept of “innocent until proven guilty.” However, this concept has been lost as alleged perpetrators are tried and convicted in the court of public opinion. The presumption of innocence, embedded in English common law and the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 11, protects individuals accused of crimes. Although the Constitution of the United States does not cite it explicitly, presumption of innocence is widely held to follow from the 5th, 6th and 14th amendments.
Ensure due process. Pursue truth. Protect the fundamental right of presumption of innocence.