Johnny Depp has physically assaulted his former wife Amber Heard; the actress herself has said so, providing evidence to support her claim. But a large majority of media outlets either play it safe with the “we don’t know what really happened” angle, or lean more towards the assertion that Heard is making all of this up — either for money or to get Depp to agree to the divorce. Apparently, it’s nearly impossible for Amber to be telling the truth, which means it’s somehow nearly impossible for all women to be telling the truth when they report abuse.
Of course, Amber Heard has proof. Photo evidence, a bruise on her face — but none of this is good enough. When a woman is the victim of rape or domestic abuse, she is told to just simply report it and gather the evidence. Because they’re questioned if they don’t — even though they may have perfectly understandable reasons for not immediately reporting such crimes. But even when they do report it and provide evidence, it’s still shot down as being fake. The goal post continues to move no matter what they do.
If they’re not reporting it, the messages seems to be that either they’re lying or she’s not trying to help herself, so there is no reason for us to feel bad for her. Then, when she does get a lawyer and the courts involved, with proof and witnesses, all of her evidence gets written off as being false and doctored. But if no one questions that, then they’ll question her when a random photo surfaces that shows her smiling, which clearly means she’s been lying the entire time. Because victims aren’t allowed to engage with other people, friends or family, and laugh or smile to get through it, they have to look miserable and upset 24-hours a day, seven days a week.
“Well, Johnny Depp doesn’t look like an abuser.” What does an abuser “look like”? Movies and television are fantasies, they’re not real, and they have unfortunately helped to warp our perception of reality when it comes to things like this. When someone says Depp doesn’t look like he fits the abuser profile, they’re saying this based on what woman beaters and rapists look like in television shows and movies. These fictional stories would have you believe that all abusers/rapists are physically unattractive, unkempt and shady-looking. None of this is true.
“But his career will be ruined!” This is also not true, in fact, that’s rarely ever been a problem in Hollywood.
Doug Stanhope kind of understood before he quickly jumped off the rails and became wrong. He wrote a column for The Wrap trying to defend Johnny Depp and suggest Amber Heard is lying.
“The fact that Hollywood and the entertainment industry at large — f***, society as a whole — turns a blind eye to domestic violence is abhorrent. But the tides have turned in such a way that the mere allegation that such a crime has occurred leaves the person accused as guilty without due process.”
See, Doug almost fooled us, but told on himself with the last sentence. Doug is trying to suggest that now all you have to do is accuse someone of something, with no evidence, and they’re life can be over. Clearly, from this context, he is talking about women accusing men. See, when this happens, now all of the sudden we have to be “fair.” We have to give both sides, both the man and the woman, the benefit of the doubt, because that’s what’s fair. Even though there is substantial evidence pointing to the fact that most abuse/rape accusations are not false.
But we’re supposed to ignore that, because men are involved and they could be falsely accused and that would be tragic. It would be horrible to support a system that attacks and vilifies a particular sex/gender without due process, or common sense.
But this is, in fact, the very same system that exists. And guess what? Women are the ones who are attacked and vilified when they’re told that they’re liars, gold diggers or just attention-seekers. While both men and women can be victims of abuse, the actual statistics tell us that one, more women are being abused or raped than men; and two, false abuse/rape claims are rare.
Do we question victims of car accidents? Is this family lying when they say their house has been robbed? Or when it burns down? Is that woman lying when she says her car was stolen? Are these parents lying when they say their child has been kidnapped? These things aren’t really questioned when presented to us, in these instances, we don’t blame the victim. But when women accuse men of rape or physical abuse, we have a laundry list of questions.
I’m saying that, as men, it is our job to believe and support women who make these claims because of our history of misogyny, sexism, and neglect. Believe Amber Heard. And even if after all of this, it’s revealed that she was making this up for some reason, it would not be enough to disprove any of what I said earlier in this article.
[Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images]