First of all, this story isn’t about the recent issues between Johnny Depp and his soon-to-be ex-wife Amber Heard. This is about all those people who are now watching it play out in the media and are thinking: wow, that was/is me and my partner. I can’t help but find parallels to these celebrities’ story and my own, and so many other people I know.
In 2016, domestic violence survivors have got a voice and have found the courage to speak up. But many years ago that wasn’t the case. Women would sit in silence as their husband would break down the closet door they were hiding in. He’d use words to torment her. And she never once called for help.
People who haven’t been through domestic violence often wonder why victims don’t speak up, and I think the case with Depp and Heard shows why: because people don’t seem to believe the woman. “She’s a gold digger” “She just wants his money” “He’s a nice guy”.
People are vouching for Depp, giving him character references. Abuse survivors know that abusers are cunning and can manipulate others to think they’re a wonderful, genuine person. But behind closed doors, the abuser can be a sociopath, a real maniac and completely opposite to the person everyone knows them as.
I watched my own mother leave my father when he was abusing her. She ran out the front door screaming in the middle of the day and she saw people walk inside their homes, people she considered friends shutting their doors and closing their curtains. It is the biggest fear of a woman who is being abused that people won’t believe her. That people will think her bruises are fake or not real because how could the loving family man do that?
Well, let me tell you: it happens every single day, and women are still dying at the hands of their boyfriends, husbands and other males in their lives. Sometimes even strangers. It is a sad fact that our society might be more educated about domestic violence but not everyone is sympathetic, especially when divorce and money is involved.
So where to from here? I don’t know but I was hoping that big news stories like the Depp/Heard case would shed a light on violence, but all it does is further the notion that the woman is making it up to slander a man and get his hard earned cash. Yes, that does happen, but why are we so quick to say it every time?