Without blinking, Kellyann Conway tries to delegitimize Rob Porter’s Ex-Wife in this interview with Jake Tapper.
In doing so, she shows us how women undermine each other in ways that are subtle, yet deadly.
Here’s how she did it and how to see through it.
In this interview, Jenny Willoughby talks about her ex-husband’s abusive relationship with her. She shifts the conversation in a very subtle way, which I think is so important.
How does she shift conversation?
She talks about him, says he’s deeply troubled but not a monster. She says he can come across as chivalrous and capable, but when he’s under pressure, that’s when the violence comes out.
In doing so, she, I think, is very believable. You can see the genuine hurt and the struggle on her face.
She’s not vengeful or shrill or leading a smear campaign against him. I think this is important because for me it shifted the conversation in that she was talking about a mental health problem.
She wasn’t calling him names or comes across as that person who has an ax to grind.
Then in a CNN interview later interview, Jake Tapper’s interviewing Kellyanne Conway, who appears to be very sympathetic and she says, “You know, I feel so sorry for any suffering this woman might have endured.”
That sounds good, doesn’t it?
And then so he says to Kellyann, “Are you afraid for Hope?” (Hope Hicks is Rob Porter’s current girlfriend.) And backtrack to when Jenny Willoughby who said, “Yes, I am afraid for Hope Hicks, because if he hasn’t abused her yet, he will.”
Wait for the Kellyann pivot.
Kellyanne Conway pivots very smoothly and says, “You know, in the case of Hope Hicks, I’m not afraid for her.” And then she says,” Hope is very smart and capable. Hope has excellent instincts and loyalty.”
So smarts, instincts, and loyalty will save her!
And then she goes on to say,” You know, anyone who’s been abused should speak out. ”
So she appears to be on the side of abused women.
Well, let me just take a minute and tell you that the abused women that I see in my practice are very smart. It has nothing to do with whether or not you are smart. I would say their instincts are pretty sharp. They’re trying to get by. They’re trying to make it work. They are usually taking care of everybody else. Many times they’re in the “good daughter” role.
They know about people pleasing and expect themselves as smooth over things. The attributes that are culturally reinforced, get them into trouble interpersonally.
What does loyalty have to do with immunizing oneself from abuse?
I just love and I say that very sarcastically that Kellyanne Conway throws in loyalty. How will loyalty immunize Hope Hicks from suffering abuse?
The thing is, most of the women I see know they’re going to be de-legitimized by their mother, or by other women in the culture if they blow the whistle. “What did you do?”
They struggle with internal voices that say, “it’s your fault.” They know how the culture looks at them. If you flip it and say, OK, so only dependent, stupid, women who aren’t loyal get abused.
If being smart, capable, and loyal keep you from being abused…, I don’t know, an abuser who has allegedly assaulted three women? So how would these capabilities immunize somebody else?
I don’t know. I mean, I don’t think it’s true…
The more destructive thing- Kellyann Conway sends the message to women that if you are all these things, smart, capable and loyal you are not going to be abused. By the same token, if you’re not these things you might be abused.
In other words, if you are abused, it’s your fault.
Rob Porter’s wife, I think very adroitly addresses her ex’s behavior and also doesn’t paint with a broad brush. She says he can be quite chivalrous.
These women aren’t stupid. It’s not like a man comes around and slap some, drags them by their hair into the den and they go, “Oh, you’re for me. Let me stay with you. Let me pay any costs to stay with you.”
How then does abuse happen to smart women?
Women get drawn in and sometimes you don’t know until it’s way too late that you’re in. You’re in a bad place. The final insult is when Kellyann says Hope has carried on her duties, she has been carried on her job smoothly and of course, her employer speaks well of her.
He does? What do you think? I am not stupid. Anyway, this is not a political post, but I think it’s so important to look at the subtle ways women can throw other women under the bus.
What does and does not matter?
It’s not smarts. It’s not instinct. As a matter of fact, if you grew up with abuse, it’s your instinct to think it’s your fault and it’s not competence that’s going to immunize you from abuse.
So you know, sisters, women and mothers, we have got to start standing up for each other.
Due process is important…
but when a woman comes to you and with tears in her eyes and a heavy heart and she talks about how this man that she is in love with also has his underbelly of cruelty and violence, you need to listen and not imply any level that smarts and competence and loyalty will get her out of the bad situation.
This is Katherine Fabrizio for The Good Daughter Sessions.
We’re women. We can do better. Thanks and bye.