Gary Horton | Katie Hill Flips the Abuse Script

Gary Horton

Remember those political cowards who caved under pressure to disapprove certified election results; who voted against impeachment for inciting the riot; and who voted against a Jan. 6 riot investigation? 

Tired of back-sliding cowards? Let me share a story an abused woman who re-emerges heroically. 

Nearly two years ago, our then-Rep. Katie Hill was compelled to resign her seat after her estranged husband released revenge porn photos to local Republican operatives who shared in the sexual violence by forwarding Katie’s intimate photos to national and international news sources. The creepiness of the whole photo expose is disgusting considering that those in the nefarious photo-chain saw and knew how private and intimate these photos were. Oh, their joy in a salacious political take-down. 

What if someone did this to your daughter? Or to your wife? These photos were private, and Katie was made to suffer national-scale revenge porn abuse by folks not thinking of wives, daughters, or women – at all.  

While headline-grabbing, no aspect of “Katie-gate” holds a candle to Matt Gaetz’ alleged trafficking minors for sex or Donald Trump’s denying relationships with porn stars – only to have his $125,000 payoff check disclosed. No outrageous Trump lie or action is too much, nor conduct by any Republican male congressman sufficient cause for censure. 

But Katie Hill is female. A young, bright, up and coming, capable young woman. And in America, we still treat women poorly compared to men. In Katie, America suffered yet another woman be abused sexually and man-handled, politically. 

And Katie’s foes and American conservatives seeking to keep women “in their place” delighted in crushing Katie and pushing back women’s rights progress. 

But they failed. The icky revenge porn promoters failed.  

Katie Hill has emerged as a true female Profile in Courage, far above the backsliding congressional types of today. Hers is an example of personal resiliency overcoming tremendous pressure and her deep dedication to purpose and mission. 

After untold stress and challenge, Katie regained her balance. Beating depression, experiencing the death of her brother and relatives with cancer, Katie came back. Katie Hill dug down deep, regained her strength and vision, dusted herself off, and is driving an agenda that we, as all Americans, so deeply need. 

America lags most developed nations in women’s rights and sexual rights. Here, women are paid less than men, hold far fewer positions of power, and are too often the subjects of abuse never brought to honest justice. Increasingly, so-called “conservative” states (old white men’s clubs) are revoking women’s reproductive rights to make deeply personal decisions. Old white men are increasingly dictating what women can and cannot do. 

To quote an obnoxious Donald Trump quote, “The system is rigged, folks.” Yes, it is rigged, against women. Trump paid for whores. Trump belittles women. Trump faces multiple allegations of sexual misconduct. Trump escapes recourse and accountability. But Katie Hill had to step down, fearing further abuse and detriment. 

I don’t know how Katie mustered her positive energy, but she wrote an incredible book, and you can read it. “She Will Rise” is a concise handbook that quickly opens your eyes to many of the injustices American women face day in, day out. Scales will fall from your eyes and suddenly, you’ll both be enlightened and saddened. Enlightened to see how 51% of us live and saddened to see our passive hands in Katie Hill’s abuse. 

I spoke with Katie this Monday. Katie is doing well. She’s pushing legislation against sex-revenge. Her PAC promotes women change-agent candidates and equality in pay. Katie is advancing women’s causes and she’s not leaving the scene.  

Katie says, “There’s only one way to pull out of all this, and that’s to push back and go forward and never quit.” That’s grit and determination. Ironically, Katie Hill may yet become a greater political power outside the halls of power than inside.  

I’ve gone through extremely hard times in my life. I’ve suffered significant depression. But I can’t begin to imagine the extreme stress and anxiety Katie faced. Still, Katie recovered and rose. Katie is here and is a force for change and she won’t suffer victimization. She’s flipped the abuse script. Katie is fixed to take on the rigged system, which tolerates and promotes meanness and abuse of women. 

Through her experience and recovery, through her resolve and resiliency, through her dedication to purpose, Katie Hill is a local Profile in Courage. To those who tainted themselves exposing her photos? You didn’t beat her. She’s very much here, she’s staying put, and is promoting the justice for women so many hope to reduce. 

Even after intense pressure, Katie Hill didn’t go down a victim. Rather, she’s emerged a real hero for women now and into the future. 

Gary Horton’s “Full Speed to Port!” has appeared in The Signal since 2006. The opinions expressed in his column do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Signal or its editorial board.

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