I.On one of the most famous and public courts between the divorced couple to date all eyes have been drawn Johnny Depp and Amber Heard are two Hollywood actors, once in love, who claimed that the other had committed violence against them.
But the ambiguous verdict of the jury was mostly in Depp’s favor, and the court of public opinion seemed to overwhelmingly side with the actor, best known for his role as a mischievous but likable pirate in films about Pirates of the Caribbean. Internet super-search engines and influential people went to great lengths to dismantle Hurd’s testimony in support of Depp.
But defenders of domestic violence called the whole trial a spectacle that did more harm than good, and saw no reason to celebrate after it ended. Instead, they warned that the trial – and its outcome – had harmed the fight against domestic violence and victim assistance.
Michelle Sachs, director of training at the Women’s Center in Houston, said coverage of the trial was inevitable – it was visible everywhere: from cell phone screens to TVs in doctors’ offices to newspapers and magazines in the queues at grocery stores. For some who have experienced domestic violence, this has been a boost – especially for those who are thinking of sharing their stories for the first time.
“I’m sure it evoked a lot of feelings. So if you think of survivors who have tried to heal privately – it can certainly sometimes cause a reaction to the trauma, ”she said.
She said she hopes the outcome of the trial will not affect those who want to tell their own stories.
“The fact that the jury decided so does not mean that it did not happen. I think it’s very important – just believe in someone who can tell you something. And if you know that someone is having difficulty, just let them know that they didn’t deserve it, that it’s not their fault and that there are services. It doesn’t have to be relevant. “
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in four women and one in nine men are brutally abused by an intimate partner, while one in three women and one in four men have been subjected to some form of physical violence by an intimate partner.
Some online commentators on the trail suggested that both sides were wrong, and linked this to a deeply toxic relationship where responsibility should be shared equally. But Sachs said violence in relationships isn’t always that simple.
“I will tell you now that there is always, always a primary aggressor. So sometimes we see that if there is some violence on both sides, it could be the main [aggressor] and that the secondary simply responds to what is happening.
“Trying to understand this is not easy. I’m not saying there is this magic formula. Of course, it takes a lot of work to try to understand this. “
Martha Prada Pelaez, chief executive of the Domestic Violence Prevention Service in San Antonio, Texas, said it was important to consider power dynamics. This power can be determined by those who are physically bigger, more famous or richer.
“Johnny Depp is a pirate of the Caribbean. He is [Edward] Hands-scissors. He is a magical monster. You have an element of sympathy because the character was forced to do it with you emotionally. So I think he used that. In a relationship where there is domestic violence, there can never be two abusers or two victims. This does not happen. This is not domestic violence. Domestic violence has only one offender. “
Despite all efforts to avoid trial, Pelaez called it an unnecessary spectacle in which there were no winners, but only victims of domestic violence lost.
She said she hoped the trial did not affect the survivors and did not burn them emotionally, and remember that it was a trial that determined if someone was slandered and not subjected to physical violence or not.
“We cannot allow victims to give up their intention to seek help and seek resources simply because it happened. It will be harder.
“They no longer have confidence in the system. All the systems failed them again and again. “