The news media frenzy around Depp v. Heard lawsuit has brought domestic abuse back into the spotlight and has been the topic of many conversations. The amount of money awarded isn’t what is most distressing to those in the domestic abuse community. What matters is the impact on survivors.
One in four women and one in seven men will experience intimate partner violence in their lifetimes, and this case sadly highlighted that there can be consequences for survivors who speak out. They have already been told by their abusers that no one will believe them, and this case shows they most likely will not be believed. Survivors may decide there is no point in reporting if this is what they expect will happen.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, “Experts suspect the case will contribute to silencing victims who worry about being disbelieved, who on much smaller scales must consider the judgment and attacks they’re willing to endure if they speak up.”
Mutual Abuse is a Myth
No one deserves to be abused. This case “exposes misunderstandings about the dynamics of intimate partner violence and underscores the perfection the public expects from people who say they’ve been abused,” states the NCADV press release.
Domestic abuse is a systemic pattern of power and control for the sole purpose of manipulating an intimate partner. Mutual means given or received in an equal amount, but there can be no mutual when one partner has all the power. If the abuser has all the power and control in the relationship, there is no room for mutual abuse. Just because a victim has reacted, or physically defended themselves, does not mean they suddenly have control in the relationship. If nothing else, this case has shown just how complicated abusive relationships can be.
You can read the entire NCADV press release here.