Depp v. Heard: How Society Deals with Sexual Assault Cases for Men vs Women
An analysis of the audience reactions through the trial and after
Johnny Depp won a trial suing his abusive ex Amber Heard for defamation. It was good to see a victim win against his abuser, but the trial felt unsettling for some reason. Perhaps it was the meme-ification of two people’s pain, the laughter that rang through the courtrooms and across the internet everyday. It just didn’t feel like a case dealing with abuse.
Usually in cases like these, when there’s a female victim, the audience tend to question her honesty if she laughs, and if she cries, they tend to call it a dramatic display of lies. But the men and women who watched this trial so unanimously sided with Johnny, never posing any questions regarding his honesty, even going as far as dismissing his vulgar texts about Heard, justifying his every move, and identifying Heard’s manipulative ways no matter what she said or did.
This is a good thing, because victims of abuse get to vent their anger, and it’s nothing compared to what they went through in the hands of the abuser. But I am yet to see a trial where the men and women unanimously side with a female victim, never questioning her about why she stayed, or why she reacted violently, or why she laughed or cried during a trial, and are able to identify the manipulative ways of male abusers without falling for their lies.
Even in this case, some speculative questions like why Amber Heard chose to stay with Johnny despite the abuse, and why she gifted him a knife when he was trying to hurt her were posed. But similar questions regarding Johnny’s stay with Amber weren't brought up. Questions such as these are unacceptable in cases of domestic violence as the actions of the people involved won’t make sense from one time to another. There is no logic or rationality in abuse.
There seems to be a worry as to what this case means for women moving forward. How men will bring Depp v. Heard to discredit any woman coming out about her abuse.
But no matter how many men come forward with false accusation cases, when a woman says she's been abused, I will always believe her, until proven otherwise. Because cases of false accusations are minute compared to the abuse women face on a day-to-day basis.
It’ll be interesting to see how Amber Heard’s career will be affected moving forward. Because the career of abusive men has never known to dwindle in the face of allegations.
Male abusers thrive in this patriarchal society. They live life as if nothing happened. They are worshipped for their art and achievements, and their misdemeanors are overlooked for the same.
I don’t think Amber Heard will be receiving the same kind of support as these men receive. I don’t think anybody will say “We need to separate the art from the artist” when it comes to her. I wish the society reacted the same way towards all the abusive men, the rapist, the pedophiles — Woody Allen, James Franco, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Elon Musk, Louis Walsh (This guy grabbed Mel B’s ass on live TV, and nothing happened to him. In fact, he justified his actions and continued to live his life like usual), Vairamuthu and all these Indian and foreign perpetrators.
When will men be truly held accountable? When will society stand strong beside the female victim? When?