Your Silence Subjects Them to Suffering

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Around 40% of domestic violence victims are men but are “feminists” standing up for them? Or have they hijacked the #MeToo movement to shroud their personal vendetta against men?

Two explosive audios of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s conversations recorded in 2015 were released by The Daily Mail on January 31st and February 5th respectively, sparking outrage on various social media platforms. The hashtag #JusticeForJohnnyDepp trended worldwide on Twitter as thousands jumped to the actor’s defence in response to the incriminating evidence of Heard being an abuser. In the first audio, the Aquaman actress openly admits to hitting her then-husband, throwing pots and pans at him and “[starting] a physical fight” while mocking him for being a “baby” (“Grow the f*** up, Johnny!”) and accusing him of “splitting” whenever they fight. Heard showed her true colours in the second audio in which she ridicules Depp for claiming his victimhood saying “see how many people believe or side with you” and justifies her violent, criminal acts with the facts that she was a “115 lb woman” and that he was “bigger and stronger” than her. Her gaslighting, mental manipulation of Depp and her victim-blaming prompted a public uproar online. 

More than three years ago, crusaders of the #MeToo movement and news outlets including HuffPost and The Washington Post were up in arms against Depp after his ex-wife filed for divorce and accused him of domestic violence. Slogans like #BelieveAllWomen circulated on Twitter as social activists insisted on believing the “survivor” of abuse and “cancelling” Depp when a video of him cursing and slamming kitchen cabinets was leaked to TMZ and photos of Heard’s apparent bruised face surfaced. Since then, the Fantastic Beasts actor has released a plethora of evidence that point towards his ex-wife being an abuser, including photos of visible injuries on his face, witness statements of Heard’s aggressive behaviour towards him, police station call logs, and a photo of his severed fingertip which he claimed was cut off by a vodka bottle Heard hurled at his direction. He then filed a $50 million defamation lawsuit against Heard after she authored an op-ed article for the Washington Post in 2018.

Moments after she broke the news of her accusations, Heard was heralded and embraced as a domestic violence survivor, the American Sweetheart who stood up to her abuser and the darling of the #MeToo movement. People, especially DV victims came to her aid by rushing to the theatre to watch Aquaman, in which she played the lead role Mera opposite to Jason Mamoa. In 2018, she was appointed to be an ambassador of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) advocating for women’s rights, among several other human rights accolades.

On the other hand, Depp was publicly denounced as a “wife-beater”, criticised for his participation in the Fantastic Beasts franchise and faced serious repercussions in his career. The three-time Oscar nominee’s exes such as Vanessa Paradis who lived with him for 14 years and his children, including Lily-Rose Depp (who at the time was a 17-year-old minor) came to his defence only to receive online threats. The actor also opened up, in a 2018 Rolling Stone interview, about his depression and thoughts of ending his life that were primarily prompted by the allegations.

Image Credit: Rolling Stone

Fast forward to three years later, evidence incriminating Amber Heard surfaced as she admitted to physically abusing her then-husband of 15 months and mocking his male victimhood. The news was received by radio silence from all mainstream media outlets and verified blue-tick accounts on Twitter who had sided with Heard for years jumped to her aid. They have vilified and dismissed Depp’s supporters and DV victims as bots hired by Depp and his lawyer Adam Waldman as part of a “misinformation campaign” aiming to smear Heard’s name and uphold the patriarchy. A number of fervent supporters of the #MeToo campaign also spared no effort to justify the actress’ actions by suggesting it was “mutual abuse” or that no quick conclusions should be made without all the information.

The stark difference between the support or the lack thereof of so-called “feminists” is a symptom of a social ill and our negligence of men’s issues, especially domestic abuse in this case. This is an undeniable fact. The double standards here are crystal clear, seeing how Heard was listened to and believed as a DV survivor after providing some photos of her alleged injuries and a video filmed without Depp’s consent or any context, and how Depp is silenced and questioned after providing damning evidence of his abuser admitting to criminal acts on tape.

In a TEDWomen event, Tarana Burke, the founder of the #MeToo movement has deemed the campaign “unrecognisable” after certain individuals had exploited and seized it for their own personal agenda to prosecute men. Whoever has publicly denounced the actor is doing mental gymnastics to justify his abuser’s actions or disregard his experience and suffering as a victim. Their primary concerns are preserving their own delusional narrative and perpetuating the notion that men are the only monsters capable of taking on the role of the abuser. They silence Depp as a DV victim on the sole ground that he does not fit their monolithic profile of a “victim”, as a man, not to mention their unwillingness to overcome their ego and admit to pillorying a victim on unfounded accusations. The smothering of male DV victims remains in our society beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Not only has Heard caused irreversible harm to Depp, his career, reputation and family for years, her lies and manipulation are also detrimental to real DV survivors. Her hijacking and weaponization of the #MeToo movement and the goodwill of the people to further her career is unforgivable. Because of her, one liar in the millions of actual victims, the credibility of women who stand up for themselves against abuse and violence is eradicated. Anti-women bigots could now use her as a generalised example to muffle the voices of abused women and to minimise female struggles. Amber Heard has single-handedly created a domestic abuse hoax to camouflage her serial violence and criminality with her white-woman tears for years, and her victim, Johnny Depp and millions of other real DV survivors are bearing the brunt of her deception and manipulation.

“I can’t, and nobody should accept anything but the truth,” said Depp, when asked what he yearns for. We all owe Johnny Depp an apology and a chance to speak his truth, and this mindset should extend to all male abuse victims.

Image Credit: Variety.com