June 30, 2022

Why The Depp vs Heard Case Mattered

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Commentary

The mainstream media is working overtime to play down the Depp v Heard court case, dismissing it as a tawdry celebrity circus and attributing the massive public interest to sinister efforts by Johnny Depp fans to support their star and a win for yet another powerful man. But there are really significant issues at play here.

Perhaps most importantly, we witnessed cracks in the Believe All Women feminist edifice. The waves of social media applause that greeted the daily exposure of Heard’s lies in the Virginia courtroom spoke to the immense frustration of communities everywhere that have been cowered into denying the truth about domestic violence for decades.

Then it all played out on this massive public stage. This was not a he-said/she-said drama where no one knew who to believe.

Critically, Amber Heard and Johnny Depp’s behaviour was captured on tape, and due to the decision to broadcast live the entire proceedings, it was revealed to all.

Viewing figures totalled an incredible 84 million hours of this courtroom drama featuring these recordings of their conversations, attracting audiences of up to 3.5 million, amplified daily in thousands of YouTube videos, Instagram clips, and other social media promotions, which also often attracted viewers in their millions. The “Johnny Depp hashtag reached 30 billion views on TikTok.

So absolutely huge numbers of people actually got to hear what went on between these two. As the jury concluded, they heard ample evidence that Amber Heard misrepresented herself as a domestic violence victim. Johnny Depp has always categorically denied he had physically abused Heard, and the evidence stacked up showing this to be the case.

Depp was revealed as a booze-addled, angry man prone to texts fantasizing about hurting Heard but contrary to the view of the British judge who ruled in his failed defamation case against The Sun newspaper; there was no proof he was a wife-beater.

Rather than Johnny Depp being revealed as a wife-batterer, Amber Heard was shown to be a violent woman. One of the most telling incidents took place in Australia whilst he was filming Pirates of the Caribbean. Depp described how he locked himself in bathrooms to escape the “endless parade” of insults and abuse he was receiving.

Johnny Depp
Actor Johnny Depp stands in the courtroom at the Fairfax County Circuit Court in Fairfax, Va., on May 4, 2022. (Elizabeth Frantz/Pool Photo via AP)

The description of Depp trying to get away from a woman screaming obscenities, sneering and tormenting him ticked many of the boxes in the recently conducted survey of male victims of coercive control, published by psychologists from the University of Central Lancashire (pdf).

Smashing property, tick. Threating to report him to the police for something he hadn’t done, tick. Playing mind games, humiliating him, insulting his masculinity. Tick, tick, tick.

The Lancashire University survey results added to the growing body of evidence that women are just as likely as men to be perpetrators of coercive control.

Most people realise that some women can be experts in this type of controlling behaviour. It’s just that we haven’t been allowed to talk about it until this case let the cat out of the bag.

Amber Heards are everywhere. That was the message that flooded social media. The woman’s appalling behaviour triggered a shudder of recognition—not just from men who have faced similar abuse from their partners, but from children witnessing their fathers fall victim to their mothers.

There was Australian Institute of Criminology research (pdf) which showed a similar number of children (22 percent) witnessing domestic violence from mothers against their fathers as mothers being abused by their fathers (23 percent).

The Depp/Heard case represents a critical cultural moment—a real breakthrough in truth-telling about domestic violence, undermining the ideological straightjacket that feminists have worked so hard to maintain.

There’s a YouTube video called, “I did not punch you, I was hitting you,” which shows Johnny Depp in court listening to a recording of Amber Heard where she angrily explains that yes, she did start a physical fight with him but indignantly points out that she never punched him, she was “just hitting him.”

Epoch Times Photo
Amber Heard leaves Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse after the jury announced split verdicts in the Depp v. Heard civil defamation trial at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Va., on June 1, 2022. (Tom Brenner/Reuters)

That’s the classic female line. A hit from a woman simply doesn’t matter. The ubiquitous slap on the face is the socially accepted female response to any perceived male offence. Almost every romcom features a woman whacking a man across the kisser. That’s the “punchline” greeted by a gale of laughter by audiences everywhere.

Over 25 years ago, one of the world’s leading domestic violence researchers, the late sociology professor Murry Straus, called out this casual attitude to women’s slaps in his article (pdf). Straus pointed to everyday scenes in the media where a man makes an insulting comment to a woman, and she responds by “slapping the cad.”

Straus warned that “this presents an implicit model of assault as a morally correct behaviour to millions of women,” a stance that is not only morally reprehensible but actually dangerous.

Drawing on a series of studies conducted in the 1980s, Straus explained that dismissing women’s violence poses a real risk to women because “minor violence by women increases the probability they will end up victims of serious male assault.” She slaps, he retaliates, and she’s the one more likely to be injured.

A recent meta-analysis of 85 studies of domestic violence conducted by Sandra Stith and colleagues from Kansas State University found that one of the most significant risk factors in predicting serious abuse of women was the woman initiating violence.

So Amber Heard’s violence matters. She placed herself at risk of real injury by slapping, hitting, and throwing things at a man. It is a tribute to Johnny Depp that he never retaliated to the violence.

If we actually cared about reducing the scourge of domestic violence, we would talk openly about this critical issue. We would protect such women by teaching them to deal with conflict without resorting to violence and guide couples to handle volatile problems differently. That’s the approach used by couples and family therapy professor Sandra Stith and some similar brave souls scattered across the globe, despite active resistance from the ideologues.

Recently CEDV, the international coalition working to change domestic violence laws and policies, launched a #MenToo campaign to ensure male victims of domestic violence are heard, believed, and have equal access to services.

That’s the beginning—a vital first step towards the evidence-based treatment programs that are the only real solution to this vexed social issue.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Bettina Arndt

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Bettina Arndt is an Australian writer and social commentator on gender issues. She was the country’s first sex therapist and feminist, before focusing on men’s rights. Arndt has authored several books and has written for major newspaper titles, magazines, and has featured regularly on television. She received the Order of Australia in 2020 for her work in promoting gender equity through advocacy for men. Find her online at her blog, BettinaArndt.substack.com.

This post originally appeared on and written by:
Bettina Arndt
The Epoch Times 2022-06-21 06:48:00

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