By Burt Gretzinger
Editor’s Note: Burt Gretzinger knows in his heart that Rob Porter is guilty of spousal abuse. He knows because…he has been there. He was himself an abused husband. He tells us he has never revealed that except to a few intimate friends…until now, when the Porter case drove him to speak out for the victims, Porter’s ex-wives, and for all victims of abuse everywhere. LR Net is proud to be the place where Mr. Gretzinger chose to take his stand on this issue.
Everything about this man’s excuses/explanations pertaining to black eyes and broken glass absolutely smacks of the most vile and denial-laden BULLSHIT an abuser can possibly use as cover for their despicable actions. Give me 30 seconds with that son of a bitch and I’ll make sure he “accidentally” slams one of his eye-sockets into one of my fists. Get me?
The mother of my son always told everyone I was “clumsy” when they asked why I had a black eye or a fat lip.
Yeah, I was clumsy, all right– too clumsy to duck the incoming fury aimed at me.
And MY denial of her abuse was nearly as reprehensible as her walking this thing around to turn it into MY fault for the damages to my face. And even worse: I had to attend anger management courses to atone for my sin of being a punching bag. Two-hour sessions three times a week– massive humiliation, because everything presented and discussed showed how I was the abused and she was the abuser. But I couldn’t say anything– that would humiliate me even more, and I’d be told I was in denial about why I was there. Fun stuff.
Real fun. And somehow the facial “accidents” I received continued even after all that therapy. I guess I didn’t learn my lesson.
Or, maybe, it was just slightly more difficult and awkward for a man to admit he was the abused rather than the abuser back in the 1980’s. Best just to shut up and endure the humiliation, right? Get the little silver star next to my name. Move on…
But the one thing I took away from that denigrating experience is the absolute pertinent reason I’m writing this: being a victim of abuse is not only hard to bear, it’s hard to admit… and it’s even harder to make public. I absolutely know this, because it’s taken me THIRTY FUCKING YEARS to get to this point– I’ve only told a select few people close to me prior to writing this.
So, here’s the deal: Rob Porter’s ex-wives most definitely girded themselves with some major soul-searching and promises to themselves to not back down from any criticism they had to know would come back at them for opening up about their experiences with Mr. Porter. And they ARE getting that from a few sources– tellingly, all of which are on the Far Right end of the pundit spectrum (no surprise). Not counting a certain Orange Thing commenting about “destroyed lives” from some minor “accusations”. There’s NOTHING easy about doing what those two women finally committed to doing. Again: I absolutely know this.
What I don’t know is this: is it (somehow) more difficult for a man to admit he’d been abused than for a woman to admit it? I can’t possibly know that. Can anyone? Sure, there’s the whole “you’re not a ‘real man’ if you let your woman beat you” thing… (And, yeah, that’s pretty much as humiliating as it sounds), but that just obscures and minimizes the glaring fact that ANY ABUSE VICTIM (regardless of gender) is completely dehumanized. You’re already worse than a “bad dog” for having to be smacked around. And NOW you have the gall to freakin’ BITCH about it? This shit isn’t fucking easy. None of it.
So, Colbey Holderness and Jennifer Willoughby took a major plunge. Not easy. It hurts. I admire and respect them both for their bravery.
And now Rob Porter is making a bigger fool of himself by inventing somewhat viable explanations to cover his abuse. Which is something else I learned in therapy: The abuser always has an alternate reality for his/her actions. He’s doing exactly what is expected of him.
Guilty as charged.
photo credit: Katarzyna Bialasiewicz