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Hashtag Lends Support to Johnny Depp After Recording About Abuse Surfaces

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If you’ve experienced domestic violence, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact The National Domestic Violence Hotline online by selecting “chat now” or calling 1-800-799-7233.

New audio surfaced by the U.K. tabloid The Daily Mail allegedly provides proof that actress Amber Heard was also abusive toward Johnny Depp in their acrimonious 18-month marriage that ended with both partners accusing each other of domestic violence. Twitter users rallied around the actor to highlight that men can also be victims of intimate partner violence.

The audio clips are reportedly from recordings made during an “informal” two-hour therapy session between the actors, which Heard recorded on her cell phone. The recording has not been verified, and the Daily Mail only said it comes from a “well-placed source.” In the clip, the pair are heard arguing, including a conversation about how Heard hit and abused Depp on multiple occasions.

“I’m sorry that I didn’t, uh, uh, hit you across the face in a proper slap, but I was hitting you, it was not punching you. Babe, you’re not punched,” she says at one point. “I don’t know what the motion of my actual hand was, but you’re fine, I did not hurt you, I did not punch you, I was hitting you.”

“You poke an animal enough, it is eventually, it doesn’t matter how friendly it is, it’s not cool,” Heard said at another point. “You hit back. So don’t act like you don’t f**king participate.”

“A man would want to get out of that area so that he doesn’t get so f**king angry that he actually does pop the f**king wife,” Depp is heard saying in another part of the conversation while also suggesting she hit him with pots and pans and threw a vase at him, among other incidents.

After the audio surfaced of the alleged encounter, people posted in support of Depp on Twitter using the hashtag #JusticeForJohnnyDepp, highlighting that domestic violence impacts males too. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 29% of heterosexual men, 37% of bisexual men and 26% of gay men will experience intimate partner violence in their lifetime, which can include physical violence, stalking or rape.

Often, males are left out of the conversation or their experiences of abuse are negated. The CDC found that while nearly 85% of females will disclose intimate partner violence, only 61% of men do. Men are also less likely to find their disclosure “very helpful” when they speak with law enforcement, mental health professionals or loved ones.

“I have been in recovery circles of many kinds and stories of men receiving abuse are far too common,” Jesse Zook Mann wrote on Twitter. “Johnny Depp is sadly not an isolated case. No matter your gender you deserve to be safe from abuse be it emotional or physical.”

Others used the Depp hashtag to call Heard a “sociopath” and a liar, saying the alleged audio proving she was also abusive negates the violence she experienced from Depp, which she provided evidence of in court. While it’s impossible to know the full dynamic of Depp and Heard’s relationship without having lived it, it’s important to keep in mind the dynamics of domestic violence are not always black and white.

For example, it’s not uncommon for a partner to hit back in an abusive relationship. There’s more research on female survivors, which suggests that as many as 95% of women arrested for domestic assault used violence in response to their partner’s violence, often as a last resort or defense in a powerless situation. Other reasons these survivors cited for their abuse included to get a partner’s attention, gain their partner’s respect and retaliate for the abuse they receive.

Based on their reported experiences, both Depp and Heard experienced domestic violence. It’s important not to erase any survivor’s experience — both partners can be victims and perpetrators and deserve to be believed. In this case, Heard also being violent toward Depp does not discount that she is also a victim of domestic violence in the relationship and vice versa.

“The fact that a woman fights or talks back does not mean that she has not been the subject of repeated domestic violence and abuse,” Heard’s attorney Roberta Kaplan told Newsweek. “It’s a myth to say, as Mr. Depp apparently is implying, that if Ms. Heard slapped him, then she can’t also be a victim. That is just not true.”

Header image via Facebook

Originally published: February 5, 2020
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