An abused wife’s story that men like her husband Porter and Trump dismiss and marginalize

PRESIDENT Donald Trump faced the press people and even tweeted about his praises for his former White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter, who resigned last week when allegations against him were made public by his former wives, Colbie Holderness and Jennie Willoughby, after they reportedly contributed to a delay in granting him a permanent security clearance required for him to continue his work in the West Wing.

“We wish him well,” Pres. Trump said. “He worked very hard. I found out about it recently and I was surprised by it. But we certainly wish him well. It’s obviously a tough time for him. He did a very good job when he was in the White House. And we hope he has a wonderful career, and hopefully he will have a great career ahead of him. But it was very sad when we heard about it, and certainly he’s also very sad. Now he also as you probably know, he says he’s innocent. And I think you have to remember that. He said very strongly yesterday that he’s innocent.”

As the New York Times (NYT) reported, Mr. Porter vehemently denied these allegations, saying “these allegations are simply false,” despite details of the alleged physical, verbal and emotional abuse, including actual photographs of one of his former wives with a black eye, had been made public.

Trump tweeted on Saturday to double down on his defense of Porter, stating “Peoples lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation.”

He added, “There is no recovery for someone falsely accused — life and career are gone. Is there no such thing any longer as Due Process?”

To this date, no passionate heartfelt messages have come from the president of the United States to women who spoke out about the abuse they suffered from Porter, and to other women who are victims of domestic violence.

Trump, however, has consistently been quick to absolve his allies and supporters of their sins — Porter, Moore, Ailes, O’Reilly, etc. — and would even defend them as though the female accusers were all liars and that these powerful men were the victims here. Not surprising, considering the fact that Trump himself has been accused by multiple women of sexual misconduct and assault.

This Valentine’s Day, let me share with you the voice of one of Porter’s ex-wives who wrote a blog about the abuses she had to endure while married to him, and why she stayed until she could no longer bear it. Porter tried to silence her and invalidate her story.

Let us now hear from Jennie Willoughby, whose background includes a Master of Education in brain-based teaching and positive behavior and a Bachelor of Science in bio-chemistry & molecular biology, according to the biography page of her blog

Here is her blog post entitled, “Why I Stayed.”:

The first time he called me a “fucking b*tch” was on our honeymoon. (I found out years later he had kicked his first wife on theirs.) A month later he physically prevented me from leaving the house. 

Less than two months after that, I filed a protective order with the police because he punched in the glass on our front door while I was locked inside. 

We bought a house to make up for it. Just after our one year anniversary, he pulled me, naked and dripping, from the shower to yell at me.

Everyone loved him. People commented all the time how lucky I was. Strangers complimented him to me every time we went out. 

But in my home, the abuse was insidious. The threats were personal. The terror was real. And yet I stayed.

When I tried to get help, I was counseled to consider carefully how what I said might affect his career. And so I kept my mouth shut and stayed. 

I was told, yes, he was deeply flawed, but then again so was I. And so I worked on myself and stayed.

If he was a monster all the time, perhaps it would have been easier to leave. But he could be kind and sensitive. And so I stayed. 

He cried and apologized. And so I stayed. 

He offered to get help and even went to a few counseling sessions and therapy groups. And so I stayed. 

He belittled my intelligence and destroyed my confidence. And so I stayed. 

I felt ashamed and trapped. And so I stayed. 

Friends and clergy didn’t believe me. And so I stayed. I was pregnant. And so I stayed.

I lost the pregnancy and became depressed. And so I stayed.

Abuse is indifferent to education level, socio-economic status, race, age, or gender. And no one can ever know the dynamics of another’s relationship. 

My cycle continued for four more years. Afterward, I let go and welcomed the hard work of healing and forgiveness. My experience made me stronger and able to love more deeply. But my heart breaks for him. In the end, who is the real victim of his choices?

* * *

Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to,

Gel Santos Relos

Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to and

The Filipino-American Community Newspaper. Your News. Your Community. Your Journal. Since 1991.

Copyright © 1991-2024 Asian Journal Media Group.
All Rights Reserved.