Raj Shah's Dangerous Misrepresentation of Domestic Violence

[Content Note: Domestic violence.]

White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah gave his first White House press briefing today, and naturally he was asked about Rob Porter and when the White House knew that two of his ex-wives had made abuse allegations against him.

The whole thing was a shitshow, but the following exchange stands out as particularly troubling:

Female Reporter (offscreen): And you've used the term "fully aware" — I don't understand what that means. What does that mean John Kelly knew or didn't know? What is —

Shah: Well, I do know, for instance, that he had not seen images, uh, prior to, uh, his statement — the statement on Tuesday night.

Reporter: Did he know of the allegations?

Shah: Sorry, say that again?

Reporter: Did he know of some of the allegations —

Shah: Again, I'm not gonna get into the specifics of what may have, uh, emerged from the investigation.

Reporter: — used the words "fully aware," so I'm just trying to understand —

Shah: I understand; I'm saying specifically on images. I don't have every single detail; I'm not gonna get into every single specific.
Shah is essentially saying here that Kelly can't be held responsible for ignoring the allegations against Porter because he hadn't seen the now-public images of his ex-wife's battered face.

Not only does that suggest it was fine to assume bitchez be lying until they saw photographic evidence, which often doesn't exist in abuse cases, but it empowers the dangerous narrative that every person who is abused by a partner is left with visible injuries. This is not the case.

It isn't surprising that this vile administration would engage myths about domestic violence in its defense of a domestic abuser and his disgusting abettors, but it is nonetheless appalling.

Fuck this entire administration. I loathe each and every one of them.

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