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Kellyanne Conway's Daughter Isn't 'Too Young' to Recognize Abuse

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15 year-old Claudia Conway, daughter of (soon to be former) White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, recently announced through a series of tweets that she is seeking emancipation after she turns 16 in the coming months, adding that her desire to be emancipated is a result of years of alleged abuse and childhood trauma.

Many responses on Twitter criticized Claudia, arguing that she’s just “attention seeking” or too young for emancipation. Some even called for her to be silenced, saying that she just needs her phone taken away as punishment, or that she doesn’t know what she’s talking about because what she is saying comes from a sense of entitlement.

Here’s the thing, though: no one can know what’s going on in someone else’s house and it’s important to believe survivors regardless of their age or type of publicity. It’s never OK to make assumptions that dismiss allegations of abuse, and realistically, no one outside of their home has the full story. Also, childhood abuse doesn’t just look like physical violence. It can mean neglect, verbal abuse and so much more. It isn’t always easy to identify, and it doesn’t just look like one thing.

Claudia herself is in a very public but also highly vulnerable position. Her family is constantly in national news coverage and making her decision to pursue emancipation public on her own terms gave her some level of control in a very out of control situation. It’s not inherently attention seeking; it’s doing what she can with what she has to keep the situation from hurting her any more than it already has and most likely will.

As a child abuse survivor myself, there’s no specific age requirement on being able to understand abuse, and there’s certainly no age requirement on having a right to talk about it or to want to get out. Personally, I remember recognizing specific behaviors as abusive as young as 8 years old, and I began taking action to try to separate myself when I was around Claudia’s age as well. In fact, I would argue it’s a good sign that Claudia is being vocal about trying to get out of the situation because it shows that she has identified what is happening as unacceptable, which is always an important part of healing after abuse.

At any age, it’s important to believe abuse victims and to support them in doing what they need. While emancipation is a difficult process, but there are also resources in place to support people like Claudia, and ultimately it’s up to a judge to decide if that is an option for her or not. In the meantime, the best anyone can do is believe her and support her standing up for herself and trying to gain independence from an abusive situation.

Header image via Claudia Conway/Instagram and

Originally published: August 25, 2020
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