MTV’s Teen Mom Amber Portwood is under investigation for committing domestic violence against her on-again-off-again fiance, Gary Shirley. When confronted by Dr Drew Pinsky on the Teen Mom reunion episode, the reality show faux-lebrity broke down in tears and claims she only remembers hitting her fiance one time. If she’s truly can’t remember her actions, perhaps she should also undergo a psychiatric examination for dissociation. A mother who actively dissociates should probably not be left alone with a child without supervision.
Portwood is being investigated by the Anderson, Indiana Police Department for domestic violence and the Indiana Department of Child Services for punching, slapping and choking Gary repeatedly in front of their daughter, Leah. Exposing a minor to domestic violence is child abuse and a felony charge in several states.
In Indiana and other states, domestic violence in front of a child under the age of 14 can result in felony charges, Caryn Burton, training director at the Coalition Against Domestic Violence, told HollywoodLife.com. There has also been some talk about whether the MTV camera crew’s decision to not intervene in the attacks could merit misdemeanor charges, as it is similarly against Indiana state law to not report witnessed domestic or child abuse.
In an editorial entitled “Reality TV Giving Wrong Impression of Anderson” in a local newspaper, The Herald Bulletin, an Anderson-based reporter had a lot to say about Amber’s behavior. “She kicked and punched him seven times before kicking him in the back as he walked down a flight of stairs … Reality shows prey on featuring people who appear to be undereducated, narcissistic and full of anger,” the piece reads. “‘Teen Mom’ is not the national image Anderson wants. We don’t push our loved ones down stairs. We don’t take pride that our teenage girls are 16 and pregnant. We don’t all drop out of high school.”
Prediction: Amber will get a slap on the wrist and be required to attend anger management training and parenting courses. If it had been Gary punching, choking and slapping Amber on film in front of a minor, wouldn’t he have already been arrested and have restraining orders against him by now? Cue Whitney Houston’s rendition of I Believe the Children Are the Future. Here’s the clip from NBC’s Today Show:
Want to Say Goodbye to Crazy? Buy it HERE.
Shrink4Men Coaching and Consulting Services:
Dr Tara J. Palmatier provides confidential, fee-for-service, consultation/coaching services to help both men and women work through their relationship issues via telephone and/or Skype chat. Her practice combines practical advice, support, reality testing and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Shrink4Men Services page for professional inquiries.
Looks like a classic Cluster B rage out. I actually believe her when she says she doesn’t remember it. Their brains must subconsciously restructure their memories so that all the unpleasant things they do get purged. I had flashbacks watching this.
Now reverse the roles for a moment. If the fiance was hitting her instead, you can bet the camera crew would have been on him in a second.
Dr Tara Palmatier says
When the psychiatrist came on the screen, I thought, “Finally! Someone is going to hold her accountable…” until I heard him mention ONLY the baby’s mental health…I couldn’t help but think, “What about the man’s mental health??”
Here’s something I think should be a red flag – if you are on-again, off-again, it’s probably a toxic, if not abusive relationship.
BTW Dr. Tara: I think it’s a great idea to have to register to post comments!
Dr Tara Palmatier says
I know, TGI. Mind boggling. Also, where’s the outrage at her behavior? Is she troubled? Seems to be. Was her behavior criminal? Yes. Fine, it’s still under investigation, but I think it’s absurd to say “alleged” when she’s caught on camera more than once physically abusing Gary. And this is just the physical abuse. I have to imagine MTV has hours of her verbally abusing him on camera. Does she need help? Yup, but she also needs consequences; namely, criminal charges. Otherwise, it’s just another slap on the wrist/double standard miscarriage of justice.
Btw, I think it’s a good idea for people to register to leave comments, too.
Detach Rudder says
MTV aware of this type of abusive relationship, they cannot deleted or omitted any from camera. My DV Counsellor told me if my ex-wife abused me in front of my son. She warned me about this kind of situation and it would not look good in front of police or judge. They can take away my son very easy. I agreed that it is not right and no one have the right to hit or verbal abuse at anyone period.
Hope that they don’t sweep this under the carpet this time.
If it had been Gary punching, choking and slapping Amber on film in front of a minor, wouldn’t he have already been arrested and have restraining orders against him by now?
More like arrested, restraining orders, the video would have been edited so that the actual hit would never be shown on TV (I’ve seen this happen on pro wrestling before), there would have one of those black screen white text messages at the end of the episode about how abuse is never okay with contact info for help (which I understand DID NOT happen in this episode), and he probably would have been removed from the show.
Oh and I’m willing to bet there would have been a hell of a lot more outrage rather than slipping almost completely under the table like this did.
Nice spot by the way, got here via Spearhead.
Dr Tara Palmatier says
Exactly my question, Danny (welcome, btw, and thank you). Where’s the outrage? There’s no mention about the fiance in the other articles I read except for the quote that he thinks Amber’s a “great mother.” Come again?
I have followed this show from the beginning of this season and it is a petri dish for studying disfunctional and abusive relationships.
Amber, for her viciousness, is in a class of her own. And as for the other three, even though they are teens, they display varying degrees of unbalance.
Mother issues – Catelynn living with an extremely horrible mother,
Entitlement – Farrah who cries at the drop of the hat
ABT syndrome (Anything But This syndrome) – Maci (?) who has perfected victimhood.
Yes, they are people and deserve sympathy, but just watch the show and see how easy things would be if these girls really started using proper judgment.
As for Amber, nothing excuses the barrage of punches on Gary. Sure, he’s a slouch, but still the father of her child and to display such aggression warrants intervention.
Portwood has been charged with felony domestic violence.
I find it bizarre that it’s a felony and she’s getting charged *BECAUSE* she did the incidents in front of their infant? Granted, it’s a good thing that the state is trying to minimize a child’s exposure to adult abuse…but had she done it without the child present…
Are the laws the same when a man slaps, chokes, kicks a woman? Is it only a felony if there is an underage witness?
That seems really strange.
Today the judge ordered Portwood to go to trial. She is facing
two counts of felony domestic battery along with one felony count of neglect of a dependent and one misdemeanor charge of domestic battery, all in relation to the fight with her ex Gary Shirley. Apparently she was pretty upset when leaving the courtroom, but that’s what happens when you are held accountable for bad behavior. Looks like she is not allowed to see her daughter Leah in the presence of Shirley. According to the article, the two year old is in his care. The trial is set for November 16, 2011. I like Dan’s, Granny’s and Devra’s comments below the article. Hopefully things are slowly starting to change.
She’s back in the news: