After news outlets published details of her divorce filing, Iowa Senator Joni Ernst has gone public revealing that she was not only the victim of domestic violence by her estranged husband, but that she also survived a rape as a college student.
“I didn’t want to share it with anybody, and in the era of #MeToo survivors, I always believed that every person is different and they will confront their demons when they’re ready,” Ernst said in an interview with Bloomberg published Wednesday. “And I was not ready.”
She described the abuse she endured at the hands of her estranged husband Gail Ernst:
“He turned around at the landing, and he grabbed me by the throat with his hands and threw me on the landing floor. And then he pounded my head … on the landing. It was very sudden and very violent. It scared me.”
Having recently gone through a divorce myself, I can sympathize with Senator Ernst. I can’t imagine how painful it is having your personal nightmare aired for public consumption. And yet rather than hide, she’s chosen to give her side of the story.
When questioned on how a rape survivor could have voted to confirm Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court after hearing the accusations from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, Ernst responded “I do believe she experienced trauma, but the evidence and witnesses presented by her contradicted her story. I don’t believe Justice Kavanaugh was the source of her trauma.”
That echoes what many of us conservative women felt after watching the Kavanaugh hearings.
Ernst also denied her husband’s accusation that she had been unfaithful. “There was no affair.” she stated. “The entire affidavit made me sick. It was just one lie after another.” Gail Ernst has refused comment on his wife’s statements.
Another revelation from the leaked divorce affidavit: Donald Trump interviewed her to be Vice President and she turned him down, citing her family. The Trump campaign has confirmed that Ernst would have been on their short list of candidates had she not withdrawn.
But the most for Joni Ernst is this: “What I want to remind everybody is I’m still the same person as I was a week ago, the only difference is you know more about me now than you did a week ago.”
Senator McConnell made a good choice in adding Senator Ernst to the Judiciary Committee. Iowa voters made a good choice in electing her to represent them. Let’s hope they decide to send her back to Washington. We need more women like her in Congress.