Jennie Willoughby wasn't surprised when President Trump implied she was lying about claims ex-husband Rob Porter abused her. Based on a Saturday tweet noting a "mere allegation" ruins the "falsely accused," Trump believes "abuse is something to be questioned and doubted" but "the truth exists whether the President accepts it or not," Willoughby writes in an essay at Time. Though she doesn't condone Trump's support for Porter, who resigned as White House staff secretary last week, "I forgive him," Willoughby continues. "Of course" White House staff defended Porter. "They valued and respected him. The truth would be dissonant to everything they believed to be true about the man they knew. The truth would be devastating. And denial is easier than devastation."
Willoughby knows a thing or two about denial as she found herself "questioning the accuser" during the #MeToo movement. "Society as a whole doesn't acknowledge the reality of abuse" so "society is subconsciously trained to question a victim of abuse," she writes. The truth, however, is that abuse is very real. It's "scary and demoralizing and degrading. It chisels away at your self-esteem and self-worth until you are unsure whether your version of reality is valid or not." It's an important message to spread now given this "critical moment in history," Willoughby adds. "If the most powerful people in the nation do not believe my story of abuse in the face of overwhelming evidence, then what hope do others have of being heard?" Her full piece is here. (Read more Rob Porter stories.)