An Oregon Republican claimed educated women are “not susceptible” to domestic abuse — just a few moments after Gov. Kate Brown alleged she had been a victim of such violence.
Gubernatorial candidate Bud Pierce, an oncologist from Salem, and Brown were asked what they would do to stop sexual and domestic violence in Oregon after a new study revealed more than 50 percent women in the state have reported being the subject of some form of abuse.
“A woman that has a great education and training and a great job is not susceptible to this kind of abuse by men, women or anyone,” Pierce said in a debate at Portland City Club, Orlando.
The absurd statement was met by boos from the crowd. However, they were not enough to deter Pierce, who went on to argue that if women became “powerful,” they could end abuse.
“Powerful women have access to lawyers and courts and go at it,” he added. “But the women who are most vulnerable are poor women who don't have a place to turn, because they don't have shelter or family around them. So I would argue that in addition to strong laws and going after every sexual predator and every abuser, the way we can make every woman ... less susceptible to being harmed is to make them powerful."
A visibly shaken Brown, who holds a law degree from Lewis & Clark College and is the first openly bisexual female governor in the United States’ history, asked for a rebuttal and said she was uncertain of “where to start.”
“I grew up in a middle-class family. I went to law school. I know what it feels like to be paid less — substantially less — than the male lawyer in the office next to me,” said Brown. “This is not just about power; it’s about making sure that people are not discriminated against because of their gender, because of their race and because of their sexual orientation.”
The statement by Pierce echoes those made by members of the Trump family.
Earlier this year, Eric Trump said “strong women” do not “allow themselves” to be subjected to harassment. The statement was closely followed by a similar statement by his sister, Ivanka, who branded sexual harassment as “harmless” and a “good-natured tease” — and in the same breath claiming she herself was a victim of workplace abuse earlier in her career.
Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly has accused former CEO Roger Ailes of sexual harassment. Kelly Ellis, a software engineer at Google, was repeatedly harassed by her coworkers. Celebrities like Nigella Lawson, Rihanna and Whitney Houston have suffered domestic abuse in the past. These women are the personification of powerful women, yet they were still subject to violence.
In fact, a 2014 study published by The Telegraph claimed educated and well-paid women were more likely to suffer domestic abuse.
Pierce later released a statement, which apparently was meant as an apology to Brown.
"As a physician who began medical school almost 40 years ago, and has seen many patients including women of domestic violence, I know that any women, regardless of economic status, can be subject to domestic violence and sexual abuse,” he wrote. “Sexual and physical abuse is morally wrong, is against the law, and must be opposed with all efforts."