It seems that Johnny Depp’s case against Amber Heard has made some major waves in the world of Hollywood drama, and in the world of domestic abuse survivors. After the rise of the ‘Me Too’ movement, there has been a change in the fair treatment of male abuse victims. The topic of abuse of men has been coming to light more than ever recently.
I believe that there needs to be a much larger focus on making sure abuse allegations are both true and legitimate, but also making sure abusers, no matter their sex, are brought to justice. The results of a study done by the domestic violence research organization show that “Men are more likely than women to be convicted and to be given harsher sentences and males were consistently treated more severely at every stage of the prosecution process, particularly regarding the decision to prosecute, even when controlling for other variables (e.g., the presence of physical injuries) and when examined under different conditions.” It is for these reasons that I believe there needs to be more of a focus on female violence against males, and the idea of men being abused by their female partners needs to be de-stigmatized.
Abuse of men is often overlooked, especially in the era of the ‘Me Too’ movement. The focus has been so exclusively on women being abused, that society has seemingly forgotten that they can also be the abusers. Although men are typically physically stronger than women that do not equate to an inability to be abused. In the case of Depp Vs. Heard, Johnny felt that as a man, he should not hit a woman, even in self-defense. So he endured Heard’s physical abuse and let her take her rage out on him until he could safely remove himself from the situation.
While the ‘Me Too’ movement has been an extremely positive thing for many women to come out and expose their abusers it has also demonized men to the point where people will believe a woman who is lying through her teeth, and ignore a man who is crying for help. The fact that Johnny Depp has lost the opportunity to return to the screen in some of his most iconic roles due to the accusations by Amber Heard is an excellent example of this. Meanwhile, although he also made allegations against Amber, and proof of her mental and physical abuse has been spread across the internet, Heards’ movie roles and beauty company ambassadorships remain intact and unphased.
In many other aspects of everyday life men have a more than acceptable amount of focus placed on them, and often receive more concern and attention than is necessary. However, the concept of males being abused by their female spouses is one severely neglected area of conversation. And this neglect has put men in great danger in the modern-day. And many men are afraid to come forward due to the fear of not being taken seriously.
According to the Nation Coalition against Domestic Violence, 1 in 4 men have experienced physical violence from an intimate partner. This is more than comparable to the 1 in 3 women who experience the same abuse. So why are we not focusing on it?
There is a belief that men simply cannot be physically abused by women due to the common “understanding” that women are the weaker sex. This belief, on top of the wave of women coming forward and falsely accusing men just to ruin their lives, has given female abusers an edge.
A striking quote by Amber Heard was recently released and used as evidence in court. The recording of Heard rang through the courtroom and rocked the jury as they heard the bold statement she threw at Johnny
“Tell the world, Johnny, tell them, Johnny Depp, I, Johnny Depp, a man, I’m a victim too of domestic violence,” she said before she went on to say “ see how many people believe or side with you”
While at the present moment the trial between Depp and Heard is still ongoing, I feel that all of us watching are beginning to realize just how hard it is for men, even wealthy A-list celebrities, to stand up against their female abusers. If it is that hard for a man with the best legal team money can buy, I hate to imagine what it must feel like for the millions of men of regular status who try to come forward and get the help they deserve.
Moving forward, we all need to take a look at ourselves and our biases and try to actively undo the negative stereotypes we have been raised to believe. Men can be abused just as harshly as women. If we allow ourselves to see this, I hope we can move toward a more just future for the victims of domestic abuse.