It took strength for Colbie Holderness to leave her two-year marriage to former White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter, she argued Monday.
Porter’s first ex-wife, who shared a photo of her black eye delivered by the accused political aide, penned a Washington Post essay disputing the White House’s dismissiveness of his abuse and how it impacted her life.
“I walked away from that relationship a shell of the person I was when I went into it, but it took me a long time to realize the toll that his behavior was taking on me,” Holderness wrote.
Holderness said she took exception to Kellyanne Conway appearing to imply both of Porter’s former spouses pale in strength to Hope Hicks, Porter’s girlfriend and President Trump’s White House communications director.
She implored Conway and Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who refused on Monday afternoon to say whether she believed Holderness, to do better and stand by women in light of the far-reaching #MeToo movement.
“Victims are often with their abusers for long periods of time,” Holderness explained. “They marry them, become financially intertwined with them, have children with them. There are many reasons people find it difficult to leave. The bottom line is, it takes strength to pull yourself away and start over.”
Holderness said she put graduate school on pause to recover.
“I was depressed and unable to complete the work,” she said.
“When I finally left Rob for good, my self-confidence was so destroyed that I was too scared to apply to any jobs other than that of server at a restaurant,” Holderness added. “It has taken me years to get my professional life back on track.”
She said she and Porter dated for three years and his abuse never surfaced until they tied the knot. The two divorced in 2005.
In another essay Sunday, Porter’s second wife, Jennie Willoughby, slammed Trump for professing the former staffer’s innocence.