I have for some weeks now, like millions of others I’m sure, watched the demotion case of Depp vs Heard in fascination. Which is not like me because I don’t usually consume a lot of celebrity news/gossip. It’s just never been that interesting to me. But only a couple of weeks into this trial and my Youtube feed was filled with videos and soon I started clicking, and somehow became invested. I have listened to this case along with many, many others and I’ve been flabbergasted, outraged and scandalized. I’ve learned a lot too, about domestic violence and abuse.
This case has been an eye opener. I think I first really drawn in by Dr. Curry’s testimony about her testing and findings regarding Amber Heard. As a teacher, I often have to work with kids who have anxiety, ADHD, autism, have suffered trauma, are on meds etc and I don’t always have ways to help them or their families so mental health has become a topic of interest to me personally. I do suffer from what *I* call functional anxiety, so naturally that’s another reason why I’m interested in mental health. I already knew what the DSM-5 was. So Dr. Curry’s explanations and her diagnosis really drew me in. And I have to say, based on that, I was saddened for Amber Heard.
Now, I’m not pro-Heard, as I’ve seen people on Twitter talk about. I don’t add hashtags to my tweets, which I think have been few, about this case. I have leaned from the beginning, towards being pro-Depp. Full disclourse, I’m a bit of a fan. I loved every film I’ve ever seen Johnny Depp in, from What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and Sleepy Hollow, to the Pirates franchise. I think he’s a wonderful character actor. Have I seen all of his films? No. I didn’t even know he was in Nightmare on Elm Street, and being the age I am, I should have. So I’m not pro-Depp because I am a fan, but rather because, as the case unfolded, I saw so many inconsistencies with Ms. Heard’s side of the story, and the diagnosis from Dr. Curry seemed evident to me in her behaviours and statements during testimony. Also, for the record, I don’t think Johnny Depp is a saint. He clearly has some mental health issues that need addressing or continual addressing, as many others in this world do. He’s human, and so is Amber Heard. And humans aren’t perfect beings.
So why am I saddened for Amber Heard? If I believe Johnny Depp more than her, why do I feel sad for her? If I don’t believe her, and I couldn’t in honesty say that I do, why does this trial sadden me? Well, for one thing, I’m not baying for her blood. I have seen many people comment on how she has undone a lot of work of the MeToo movement, that people like her are the reasons DV victims don’t come forward, that they want her to go to jail for perjury and even abuse, since she is the abuser. In the court of public opinion, Amber Heard has been judged and sentenced. And the way her punishment is being eeked out makes me really sad for Amber Heard.
Not a Criminal Case
And yet, I think people tend to forget that is case is not about finding either Depp or Heard guilty of abuse of any kind. It is not a criminal case. It is a civil case for defamation. No one is going to jail at at the end of the day, and I doubt that even if Ms. Heard has perjured herself in this trial, that she is going to jail for that since it is not going to be easy to prove or even to gather enough evidence for the court to bring against her. So the baying for blood of Ms. Heard is a bit of a reach in both instances here in regards to abuse and perjury. Does that seem unfair? Perhaps, but the world is an unfair place and we have laws and processes to level out the playing field.
The Judgement of the Internet
The other reason I feel sad for Amber Heard is what she said in her rebuttal testimony. That she receives death threats. That people make threats against the life of her child, a baby, and that these threats and insults come in on a daily basis. And honestly, while there has been a lot that Ms. Heard has said in this trial that I have not believed, there has been some things she has said that I do believe, and that is one of them. That truly disgusts me. Even if you believe her to be an abuser, to be a narracist who manipulates and gaslights and never takes responsibilities for her actions, who lays blame on others, who has done horrible violent things to other people, what Ms. Heard needs is not not our judgement, but help. If Dr. Curry is right in her assessment of Amber Heard, then Amber Heard needs help. And if Ms. Heard is suffering from PTSD, she also needs help. And I’m sure there is some PTSD there, from traumas that were never addressed in her life, perhaps in combination with the personality disorders brought up in this case.
Who are we, on the internet, to sit in judgement of her? To say snarky, mean and insulting things about her? To threaten her or her child? Is that justice? Is it justice for Johnny Depp? Hardly. And so yes, I’m saddened for her. I can’t imagine the life she is living, where she can’t even open Twitter without seeing herself attacked and ridiculed, when her testimony is the butt of TikTok jokes. It’s just sad, and even if her choices and actions have helped bring her to this point, it’s still sad and unnecessary, and very unnatural punishment.
So while I do believe Johnny Depp, I think we all need to leave Amber Heard alone. I’m sad for Amber Heard that she has to put up with all of us judging her when we have no right to judge her, at least not in such a public and harassing way. Opinions can be kept to oneself. I’m sad for Amber Heard that she has suffered trauma in her life, and that she is possibly unready to seek the help she needs to truly heal. That is my opinion, which I think may be an unpopular one, but I always walk on the side of do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
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