Back in 2016, Amber Heard accused Johnny Depp of domestic abuse and the public was shocked by the news. Depp was an extremely loved actor and many of his fans were devastated when the news broke. He lost many of his supporters but also still had plenty of people defending him and claiming that Heard was a liar. When I saw the photographs of Heard's bruised face and read her accusations, I was completely disgusted and decided that I would no longer be supporting Depp. I stood by Heard and even wrote an Odyssey article criticizing J.K. Rowling for defending her decision to keep Depp on as the role of Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts series.
On March 1 of this year, Depp filed a defamation lawsuit against Heard because of an op-ed she wrote for the Washington Post in December of 2018 where she wrote about her experiences as a survivor of domestic violence. She did not explicitly name Depp in the op-ed, but it was clear that it was about him. In the lawsuit, Depp also accused Heard of actually being the perpetrator of the abuse in their relationship.
These past two weeks, Twitter users have been sharing this news non-stop. I have seen many people, mostly Depp's fans, lashing out on those that defended Heard when she came forward in 2016. This situation has been turned into an opportunity for those that do not support the #MeToo movement to criticize it and claim that it is ineffective. The types of tweets that I have seen shared the most regarding the lawsuit are ones saying, "This is why you don't blindly believe women that claim that someone abused them."
I want to start off by saying that I do not regret standing by Heard at all. Even if it ends up being confirmed that she was the abusive one and not Depp, I still would not regret my decision. Don't get me wrong, it would be absolutely awful if Depp had gone through all of this public shaming while being innocent. However, it does not mean that I am no longer going to believe women that come forward with their own experiences of domestic abuse.
Very rarely do the situations present themselves where the person that comes forward as being a survivor of sexual violence is actually fabricating the entire story. Most of the time, our society does not believe someone when they say they have experienced abuse, especially if the person being accused is a celebrity. There is rarely anything to gain from claiming that a celebrity abused them because the public ends up insulting them, bullying them, and even threatening their lives. I was on Heard's side when she said that Depp was abusive because I knew that the chances of her lying were slim and that it would take a lot of courage to say that a widely respected actor abused her.
The public needs to stop using this lawsuit as an opportunity to convince people to never believe people that come forward as survivors of abuse because the cases where they have lied are extremely rare. But yes, it does happen. If it turns out that the situation between Depp and Heard is one of them, then I am fully prepared to give Depp my support.
Depp's fans have been saying that they always knew he was innocent, but it is naive to think this way because the way Depp presents himself to the public could be drastically different to how he is behind closed doors. It also is not fair to other survivors of domestic violence to make this kind of claim because it can discourage them from seeking help.
It is not a flaw in the #MeToo movement to stand by those that come forward and claimed they were abused. We owe it to the survivors to not accuse them of being liars because our society has already mistreated them for so long. Movements like #MeToo have been helping expose abusers and also create a community of support for survivors of abuse. The entire #MeToo movement should not be discredited just because Heard potentially lied.