Serious allegations of physical and verbal abuse have surfaced from court documents by Amber Heard against Johnny Depp after the couple recently filed for divorce. The judge has currently granted Heard a temporary restraining order on account of her allegations. Heard submitted photographs showing her bruised face, while a friend also corroborated her story. She has further claimed that she has video proof of Depp’s abuse.
Johnny Depp’s team initially responded to the abuse allegations by stating that Amber Heard was doing a disservice to the real sufferers of domestic abuse through her claims. They continue to emphasis the brevity of the marriage and explain that “Johnny will not respond to any of the salacious false stories, gossip, misinformation and lies…”. Moreover, Depp’s lawyers claim that they have a different photo of Heard showing her without the bruises during the period of time Heard claims the abuse took place.
So who’s telling the truth? The cops were contacted during the night of the incident, but they noted only verbal altercations. According to TMZ, Depp and Heard do not have a pre-nuptial agreement with Heard requesting spousal support in the amount of $50,000 per month, which Depp’s lawyers have denied. Heard received criticism and negative media attention for her request for what appeared to be a large sum of money for spousal support.
Is this a ploy on Heard’s part, trying to smear Depp’s name, in order to win spousal support? Does this mean she is lying? Or is Heard telling the truth and a victim of domestic abuse, having lived in a marriage scared of Depp’s next outburst?
When serious allegations like these are made, not only do the people involved react strongly, but those who know the couple also feel affected and experience strong reactions. In the case of actors and actresses the public, having known the individuals through the media, also feel involved, voicing their opinions of each person and what they think the truth may be. Often judgments are made based on the likability of each party, the more likable the person, the more inclined people are to be believe that story.
Often, however, in divorce proceedings when domestic violence is alleged, it is not a simple black or white, yes or no situation. There are many things to consider and it is important to clarify the truth. Being branded with the title of wife abuser is a harsh and heavy label to carry, if a lie. Having said that though, Heard has had statements made against her by Depp’s team, the media and the general public questioning her timing and motives. In looking from the perspective of how domestic abuse works, however, Heard’s behaviour might actually make more sense.
For instance, if physical abuse did take place on the alleged night then why didn’t Heard tell the officers the truth when they arrived on the scene? In cases of abuse, while the victim may be scared she/he may try to initially conceal the abuse from the authorities. Domestic abuse takes place between romantic partners; therefore, the victim may still love and care about the abuser. He/she may be in fear and therefore just want the authorities there to stop the incident, but not to necessarily get the partner in trouble. The victim may also still be in shock and fear the backlash of what can happen after the authorities leave, thinking it’s best to protect the partner now rather than risk getting in more trouble later.
People have also questioned why she would get a restraining order if Depp is out of the country anyway promoting his new movie “Alice Through The Looking Glass”. Is she looking to legitimize her request for a divorce settlement? Firstly, Depp will eventually return to America, but also beyond this, in domestic abuse cases, the fear of the abusive partner remains pretty consistently vivid in the victim’s mind, whether or not the abuser is present. Whether illogical or not, the victim often feels like the abuser can appear at any moment and go into a rage. The restraining order gives him/her just a little bit of mental and emotional relief. It takes time for the individual to return to a normal state mental functioning without panic based thinking.
Finally, one of the requests Heard made to the judge was to remove her dogs from Depp’s custody and give her full guardianship. On the surface this may seem petty, but it’s been shown that in domestic violence cases pets can sometimes be harmed by the abusive party to emotionally hurt or “get to” the victimized partner.
Depp’s team initially responded to Heard’s allegations of abuse by saying that she was doing a disservice to victims of abuse through her claims. I think that was premature and unfair on their part. If the abuse is proven to be false, then yes her claims would shed an unfavourable light on domestic violence, making it appear like women try to gain sympathy from the courts by making abuse accusations against their partners. However, if Heard’s claims are in fact true, then this is a legitimate case and she is not only not doing a disservice to the community, but she is actually helping shed light on a very important problem in our society today, even among the stars. I mean what do Depp’s team think, are Heards’ claims too trivial or her injuries not great enough for this to be a case of abuse? People don’t lightly make allegations of domestic abuse, so Depp’s team should wait until a verdict is reached on the case to start smearing Heard’s character.
Domestic abuse between partners is a serious act. Fearing your loved one, your partner who you are suppose to count on for support and affection is both confusing and challenging as you fluctuate from one emotion to the other – love and fear. At the same time, being accused of abuse towards your partner when you haven’t actually committed the acts, is very damaging to one’s reputation, causing numerous repercussions to one’s career opportunities, monetary prospects and relationship with others.
Domestic violence is a much more complicated situation to identify than other cases of abuse like getting in an altercation with a stranger. Given that the abuser is a loved one, accounts of what exactly happened can be convoluted and often look like they don’t make sense to the outsider. Victims both fear and want to protect their abusive partner, while the abusive partner may both desire and feel enraged by his/her partner.
But trying to smear each person’s character to falsify his/her claims only feeds into the frenzy and, unfortunately, gets us further away from the truth.