Amber Heard Pens Op-Ed About How Abusive Men Stay Protected

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Where Johnny Depp gets a sympathetic Rolling Stone cover story that doesn’t even approach the topic of his ex-wife Amber Heard’s abuse allegations with him, Amber Heard is in the Washington Post writing about the death threats and career hurdles she received for just speaking out.

Although she never names Depp, Heard writes in an op-ed for the newspaper about what happened after she filed a restraining order against Depp in 2016, sharing photos of the bruises she received and stories of Depp’s domestic violence.

Then two years ago, I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out.

Friends and advisers told me I would never again work as an actress — that I would be blacklisted. A movie I was attached to recast my role. I had just shot a two-year campaign as the face of a global fashion brand, and the company dropped me. Questions arose as to whether I would be able to keep my role of Mera in the movies “Justice League” and “Aquaman.”

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Heard paints a discreet but poignant picture of what it feels like to see someone like Depp continue to be successful in her industry.

Imagine a powerful man as a ship, like the Titanic. That ship is a huge enterprise. When it strikes an iceberg, there are a lot of people on board desperate to patch up holes — not because they believe in or even care about the ship, but because their own fates depend on the enterprise.

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She calls on what Congress can do to help women fighting sexual violence, like strengthening and refunding the Violence Against Women Act. But it’s her descriptions of the criticism she received after accusing Depp of domestic violence that really highlights the harassment and ridicule women receive.

I write this as a woman who had to change my phone number weekly because I was getting death threats. For months, I rarely left my apartment, and when I did, I was pursued by camera drones and photographers on foot, on motorcycles and in cars. Tabloid outlets that posted pictures of me spun them in a negative light. I felt as though I was on trial in the court of public opinion — and my life and livelihood depended on myriad judgments far beyond my control.

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The fact that Heard uses the term “court of public opinion” feels like a pointed decision, as it echoes the language men use when they complain that their lives are unfairly under attack after being accused of sexual misconduct. But as we know from what she’s experienced, when it comes to he said, she said, and the similar public testimonies of women like Christine Blasey Ford (who has received “unending” death threats which forced her out of her home), the woman will almost always face more outright violence and harassment from people who assume she’s lying.

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About the author

Hazel Cills

Pop Culture Reporter, Jezebel