Rob Porter and Why Domestic Abuse is Not a “Women’s Issue”

You probably don’t remember the domestic abuse scandal involving Rob Porter, the White House staff secretary, because it was practically years ago, before the school shooting, the Russian indictments, and the Playboy model.

In a just world, the issue would have become a weeks-long scandal. In this timeline, however, it disappeared from media coverage before I could finish proofreading this post.

The gist of the issue was that Porter had multiple, credible domestic abuse allegations against him, but the administration knowingly allowed him to work in the White House—with a security clearance—anyways. There’s solid evidence that the White House was aware of the issue for months but didn’t act on their information. When Porter finally left, Trump wished him well and noted that it was a “tough time” for the alleged abuser. Suffice it to say, there was a lot wrong with the situation, but it’s sadly not too surprising coming from this administration.

What did surprise me was CNN’s piece, Is Trump in Trouble with Female Supporters?, in which they interviewed women voters about Trump’s response to the scandal.

It wasn’t so much the responses of the women, but the fact that CNN decided to interview only female voters. It was tacitly implying that domestic abuse was a “women’s issue.” They were essentially asking, “How could a woman support a man like that?”, instead of “How could anyone support a man like that?”

Women should be outraged when domestic abuse is ignored by those in power (spoiler alert: the women in the CNN clip were not), but it’s important to note that men should be outraged too. Pundits seem to assume—I hope incorrectly—that male voters don’t care one way or another. It’s as if the media think one’s emotional response to domestic abuse is conditional upon gender.

All of us, men and women, should be concerned about the executive branch condoning domestic abuse. We shouldn’t let the media divide us into demographic buckets with varying levels of outrage. We need to remember that abuse isn’t a women’s issue; it’s a humanity issue.

 

Do you agree with the way the media handled the issue? Leave your answer in the comments.

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