Johnny Depp’s Case Brings Awareness To Male Victims of Domestic Violence

Scandals of abuse, sexual assault and coercion have plagued Hollywood for decades, further propelling numerous political movements to change the culture and stigma that have left victims suffering in silence for far too long. But when the lines start to get blurred between fiction and reality, how do we learn to pick sides again?

Take Johnny Depp as a case study: following 2017 abuse allegations from his ex-wife Amber Heard, the once critically-acclaimed actor had all but fallen from grace, losing a majority of his major roles. To make matters worse, Heard published an op-ed in The Washington Post detailing the backlash she faced for speaking out against her alleged abuser. Not too long after, it seemed like the entire world had come to her aid as anti-Depp sentiment exploded in popularity. Because of the lack of awareness around domestic violence towards men, it was presumed that Depp was the clear villain.

When audio recordings leaked of Heard admitting to physically abusing Depp and instigating fights with him, public attention returned to the case. Not only had she been previously arrested for committing domestic violence against her ex-girlfriend, but her PR team had also buried images of Depp covered in bruises, cuts and other injuries that Heard had allegedly inflicted on him. As the truth was being revealed, the narrative on Depp quickly changed. What followed was soon to further sway public opinion on the case and on domestic violence against men as a whole.

A plethora of evidence against Heard emerged, including audio clips of her starting fights, evidence of her withholding his vital medication, as well as friends and ex-employees claiming they had never seen her injured, the case turned into a disaster for Heard. In an audio clip recorded in 2015, Heard breaks down to a nurse in the room, crying that she “never meant to hurt him” and that “he needed her” following another one of her brutal attacks. The evidence against Heard was clear, and the eyes of the world were opened to domestic abuse towards men. In an audio recording presented to the court, Heard taunts Depp, jeering him to “tell the world, Johnny; tell them that I, Johnny Depp, a man, am a victim too of domestic violence, and see who believes you.” Just a few weeks ago, that is precisely what he did.

The sheer number of people rallying together to support Depp from all over the world has proved that anyone can be a victim of abuse and receive the support they need. Thousands of male victims have waited for years to confirm that their stories would be heard, just like Depp’s eventually was. It is time that we take a stand and demand justice for Depp and the abuse he has faced, as well as for all other male victims of domestic violence.

Though the case is still ongoing and more information is yet to be disclosed, the situation itself serves as a reminder that we cannot lose focus on what is important: recognizing the truth and questioning the lie. In the midst of a culture that has taught us to always choose a certain side, we must learn to open our eyes and be more than the beliefs conditioned into us.