MINNEAPOLIS - The former girlfriend of Keith Ellison has released a statement that details her accusations of domestic abuse against the U.S. Representative from the Minnesota Congressional Fifth District.
The accusations were originally leveled by Karen Monahan's son Austin in a Facebook post. Monahan, an organizer for the Sierra Club, backed up the post on social media and a statement sent to the media.
Ellison has denied the accusations and released a statement: "Karen and I were in a long-term relationship which ended in 2016, and I still care deeply for her well-being. This video does not exist because I never behaved in this way, and any characterization otherwise is false," the statement issued through Ellison's spokesman reads.
Ellison has been the perceived front runner in the DFL primary for Attorney General, but he faces serious competition in Tuesday's election from Rep. Debra Hilstrom, Minneapolis attorney Matt Pelikan, former Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman and former Ramsey County Attorney Tom Foley.
"I think you have to put these charges in the context of the fate of Al Franken and the MeToo movement, the fact that the key players in the electorate here are the base of the Democratic party," political analyst Steven Schier told KARE.
"I think the key for issue going forward, is what the evidence is, and is there more evidence from more women, is there more direct, immediate evidence?"
Schier pointed out that more than 100,000 people have already voted via early absentee voting, so it's difficult to predict the effect of Monahan's accusation against Ellison.
"One of the key differences from the Franken situation to the Ellison situation is there was a photograph, undoctored photograph of Al Franken doing inappropriate things to a sleeping woman. And in this case the video hasn't been produced yet."
The Ellison campaign turned down requests for interviews Monday and stood by the denial statement the 5th District congressman issued the day before.
Monahan didn't return text messages from KARE reporters on Monday. She told Minnesota Public Radio that she won't release the video clip described by her son on Facebook.
She continued to post on Twitter and Facebook Monday and issued screen grabs of text messages from Ellison to bolster her assertion that he has contacted her since their breakup in 2016.
The Ellison campaign confirmed the two have met several times since they ended their relationship.In fact. the campaign said the two met June 5, the night before Ellison filed to run for attorney general.
The campaign said that meeting was requested by Monahan, who was seeking Ellison's assistance on an unrelated matter. But, according to the campaign, Monahan did bring up the alleged video clip at that June 5 meeting.
Monahan's Sunday night statement:
Sunday evening Karen Monahan released the following statement:
Violence is an American tradition. It has been part of the American story since colonization. These violent acts continue from generation to generation. Racial violence, violence toward women and children are still prominent in today’s society. Racism and Patriarchy are two oppressive systems the US was colonized on and they breed violence to this day..
I am a #METOO survivor and I am focusing on violence toward women and the intersectionality with other oppressive systems. Women of color who may not have an economic advantage that others have access to, are disproportionately impacted by violence. We recently heard how a woman of color was dismissed by police officers when it was reported she was raped, all because she had a troubled past. These kind of stories are everyday in this country. Anita Hill was smeared and dismissed when she shared her story regarding a male in power. There are countless stories throughout history and currently where women who break their silence are smeared, minimized, punished, bullied and cast out of communities. Lindsey Port in Minnesota, shared her story, a story of violence and trauma, and the progressive community, who was pointing fingers at the other party about the same atrocities, crucified her. They bullied her, isolated her, withheld promised donations to her organization, which helped build individuals capacity to be part of the social change, and much more.
The progressive movement was using the hashtag #ibelieveher #metoo #timesup and elevating violence and exploitation of women and young girls when the Republicans stories were coming out. This was now the new emerging issue the progressives wanted to champion. Many women and young girls sat in their homes all across this country and finally felt validated and that their humanity mattered. People across the country began sharing their stories, most didn’t make the news. Then all of a sudden, stories began to emerge on the other side. All of a sudden those hashtags, talking points began to disappear by many. Many leaders began to run for the hills. This wasn’t the issue they wanted to discuss anymore, they wanted to talk about “the real issues”. They were tired of being distracted by Trump’s women coming out and sharing their stories. For many women across the country it was retraumatizing. Violence toward women was finally being taken seriously by one political party and then it wasn’t. In fact, many people who used their issue to score political points began victim shaming and minimizing the impacts, trauma that violence breeds. It was cruel all around. When you dismiss violence toward any human, you negate their humanity. You have to see them separate from your humanity and therefore their pain must be less of value than yours.
We live in such a transactional society, and it shows in how we do politics. The macro is always a reflection of the micro. The Progressives are not immune from practicing transactional politics. It may be a different issue, yet often times the same tools and spirit are used as the other party. Maybe if we (I am a progressive) clean up our own side, we may begin to see how much space we take up in this quest for justice. We may eliminate a huge chunk of injustice in this society. As the saying goes “The eye sees all things but itself”.
I have now come to realize it is not as easy to stand for what is right and just when you are smeared and cast out of your “so called community” than when you have the mass standing with you. Any country or community that condones violence toward another groups humanity, isn’t a group I necessarily want to follow. A collective psychosis must occur for any form of abuse to be rationalized or dismissed. When a malignant cell spreads, it becomes cancer. Violence in this country is a cancer.,
After a several years of being in a relationship with Keith Ellison, It became clear, I had survived narcissist abuse. Unless you have been through narcissist abuse, it is the most difficult form of abuse to articulate. It leaves survivors (if they survive) with serious health impacts, complex ptsd, depression and so many other devastating impacts. It is a slow insidious form of abuse. You don’t realize it is happening until it’s too late. Now that I understand it and have done so much healing, I can look back at certain moments and experiences in this relationship and they now make perfect sense. I or nobody else can diagnose a person with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). But I am well aware of the traits and I witnessed each one of them.
The complex PTSD started around 2014, I knew something wasn’t right but couldn’t put my finger on it. Every part of me began to change, including my health. I couldn’t remember things as well, my mind was slow at times and then it would race. By time I left the relationship in the middle of January 2017, my hair was falling out, I had severe pain in my neck, back and legs. My social life was suffering due to isolation, my work was slipping and it was all becoming noticeable. I became someone I didn’t recognize, on the inside or out.
I went to the Dr.. as soon as I left the relationship. I was told I was anemic, my red blood cells were very low. My magnesium was low, central nervous system was out of balance and much more. Part of dealing with the aftermath of narcissist abuse is dealing with healing your brain as well. Due to sleeping around with more than one person at the same time as me, I was scared of the possible health impacts. My time, financial cost, lost days just living life daily, my work, family, friendships, mental and physical health and much more, took a toll for a very long time. But I survived and now I am a stronger person than I ever was, even before the abuse.
Throughout the relationship he would say and do things and then gaslight me when I would ask what was going on.. He would make me think I was crazy for suspecting things I had heard or had seen. Come to find out, everything that I would bring up was actually true. The more I would see and hear things, the more I would bring it up. The anger and rage were ramping up. He would say and do things to manipulate me, so I wouldn’t bring certain issue up. A few examples of using power and control, cancel trips, tell me to move on a regular basis and would tell me I made him do it because I wouldn’t stop arguing. Basically, the things I would hear and suspect, which were true, I wasn’t allowed to mention or I would deal with some ramification It got worse as time went on.. The pathological lying, cheating, smearing my name and seeking validation and sympathy from the various females he was preying on, kept getting more and more frequent. He would word certain text where he there was plausible deniability but with everything else, it was so clear. After the relationship, others confirmed various things I was suspect to. That is part of the crazy making with narcissist abuse. One night I confronted him very calm about a lie he had just told me straight to my face. What happened next was a rage that I had never witnessed to that magnitude. He was becoming a person I had never seen before. The next morning, he came into the room I was sleeping in. I was laying across the bed with my headphones on, listening to podcast on my phone. He said he was about to leave town for the weekend and told me to take the trash out. Given the explosive outrage that occurred the night before, I just should shook my head yes. I didn’t look up at him or saying anything. That is when he tried to drag me off the bed by my legs and feet, screaming “bitch you answer when I am talking to you. I said take out the trash, your a bad guest (even though we were living in the same place). He kept trying to drag me off the bed, telling me to get the fuck out of his house, over and over. I froze. He had to leave and get on the plane. He knocked the shoe off my foot and told me I better be gone when he gets back (which was in two days). This happened in 2016. The gaslighting, manipulation, name calling and cheating started in 2014. By time the physical abuse occurred, I was dealing with the PTSD full blown. I secured an apartment within those two days. I borrowed the money I needed and spent that whole weekend searching for an apartment until I found one. I couldn’t move in until a couple months. During the waiting period he asked me several times to please not move out, he would reimburse me for the deposit. In my gut, I knew it was the right thing to do and said “no”.
I saw him morph into a totally different person and was still worried about him. I told him I would go with him if he wanted to get help. There were statements he made that had me afraid for him. We discussed working on our issues and just living in separate spaces. At that moment I was open to that. Things were happening so fast and I still didn't realize I was dealing with PTSD and had no idea what narcissist abuse was.
He would ask me to stay at his house (most of my stuff was still there) he would come home. The behavior became more irrational and I was truly worried. We were suppose to work on the issues that were occurring in the relationship but more and more odd behavior and texting to various women continued.
Toward the end, I discovered he would have me stay the night and the next night have one of the females he had been cheating on me withal, stay the night.
I needed answers (I am dealing with complex PTSD so nothing seems clear). The last night I stayed the night, ever, I got up in the middle of the night, found one of the ladies scarf and a grocery bag with her name on it. I looked at his text and saw a mountain of lies after lies. Not just to me, but to each of the females. He would send us all the same text in a row. He would lie to one of the women about why he couldn’t see her or go to a movie, etc. but invited me over to go to a movie. That is one example of several. There is much more that I could share but I Won't at this time. I couldn’t believe this was the person I had been involved with. I was in shock. It was a totally different person. I told him he was lying to not only me but these other women. He wasn’t allowing any of to make a choice with the most sacred parts of who we are. After I found out, there was no remorse. In fact, he continued the lies. He victim shamed me, said I had responsibility in his choices. This is still what he says to this day. About a few days later, the sent me a message stating that if I missed him, we could work it out. That blew me away. For a year and half after I left the relationship for good, he would send text telling me he missed me, he loved me and regretted me leaving. He told me, I would probably regret losing you for the rest of my life. I knew I would never go back. When I would mention what he did or refuse to take him back, I would receive heartless, mean messages or long periods of silence. It took me six months to finally get all my belongings from his place. The silent periods, changing plans, his schedule, needs, etc. left me connected to the trauma for six more months.
When I confronted him about all the lies and texts I saw, he first said I was crazy. I hung up the phone after he made that statement and began sending the screen shots to him. I was met with a cold response, he had no remorse. That was the day I ended it for good . In fact, Given everything that happened, he had the nerve to blame for invading his privacy because I was looking at his text. Invading his privacy and invading his secrecy are two different things in my book. These secrets have serious implications for a person’s health and overall life.
The blaming, taking no responsibility, victim shaming, cruel behavior each time I confronted him, with several attempts to get me to come back to the relationship, lasted this past year and half..
When I mentioned writing about this experience in my memoir, he tried to intimidate and threaten me. After those threats, I would call a couple friends, for about a month after he made them, everytime I left my place, just in case something were to happen to me. I was still dealing with the trauma and aftermath at this time.
I couldn’t silence my gut, in spite of what was happening to me as a result of the gaslighting, constant ups and downs with his moods (which began my ups and downs), the possibility of actually finding something that would end the relationship, I couldn’t ignore the voice inside, telling me something isn’t right. When things were slowly being revealed, he asked me why I wouldn’t stop asking him for the truth. I was met with pushback, circular conversation, manipulation or the silent treatment, each time I would bring it up, then blame me for bringing things up.
I was not the only person impacted by this situation. My kids were also impacted. I tried to hide it from them for several months. They knew something wasn't right with me when they came to visit but were not quite sure. I told them I was just dealing with depression, that I would be ok. That is until they were using my computer and found substantial evidence showing that I was in an abusive relationship. Imagine how your own children would feel if they found out someone abused their mother. I could barely care for myself much less deal with their pain. They wanted to confront him and ask him why, they wanted to make it public and I had to plead with them and tell them it wouldn't be good for me, if they did that. They did sent him a text stating they knew what he did to their mom and few other words. I couldn’t stop them from doing that. They also were in shock to watch friends and people who they knew who were part of the political world, sit back and be silent. They watched people who were aware, never reach out, ask if it was true, there were even people willing to find dirt and smear me, all to protect him. That is cruel to do to anu human. Regardless of what a person has or has not done, doesn’t mean they deserve abuse. We see this happen in our criminal justice system everyday. Watching all this, was a wake up call for them, as far as politics and the real world. When things like this happen to a person and family, the last thing they are thinking about is a political party or who is using their pain for political points.
I have offered him restorative justice and for him to seek some sort of help for over a year and half. He would not take me up on it. I told him I have not lost sight of his humanity and he deserved to take that time for himself to heal. I told him time and time again, I didn’t want to share my story publicly, it was more important for healing and restoration to occur with this situation. I told him not only he deserved it, but his family and constituents deserve it as well. For me, that alone would have been justice as far as my situation. But no matter how many times I offered, he wouldnt take me up on it.
Part of living an authentic life and taking back your freedom, means breaking your silence, if that is what feels right for you. I made a vow to my kids and my grandkids that I would do what was in my power to leave a better world for them. They are who I owe my loyalty to first. I don’t want them to inherit the pain and violence patriarchy breeds to individuals and the collective. No amount of victim shaming, smearing, etc. can hurt as bad as living a life of fear, shame and secrecy.
This issue impacts all of us. Little girls and boys are still getting the message this behavior is ok. They watch this happen at home and internalize the messages we send to them. This is an American issue. Our boys and men are hurting due to patriarchy, and hurt people, hurt people. You don’t do anyone any favors by minimizing or protecting abuse. Holding a person up to a standard they deserve for themselves, is love with justice. Dismissing their humanity isn’t the answer either. Creating a safe space and resources to help our boys and men to find their individual and collective humanity, from the same oppressive systems, is part of rooting out patriarchy. The oppressor and the ones who are oppressed, are often bound by the same oppressive system. It impacts each differently but it still erodes all humanity. But this can be the generation that changes it for the next. We all have to decide what part of history we want to be on.
Shout out for my kids for being there through those difficult times, even when you weren’t sure what was happening and to my foster mom for being a lifelong advocate for domestic abuse and children.