It's Been Over Two Years And People Are Finally Listening To Amber Heard

© Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP Amber Heard arrives at the premiere of "Aquaman" at TCL Chinese Theatre on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

By Sofia Tindall Grazia

Here’s what to expect if you accuse a Hollywood actor of domestic abuse: you can be called a liar, manipulative and a gold-digger. You can be vilified, publicly lambasted, and receive death threats.

The person who knows more about this than anyone is Amber Heard. This week she penned an article in the Washington Post, and it makes for pretty sobering reading. Of making allegations of domestic abuse against Johnny Depp, she wrote “Friends and advisors told me I would never work again as an actress – that I would be blacklisted”

© ASSOCIATED PRESS American actress Amber Heard smiles after meeting with Syrian refugees and medical volunteers in Amman, Jordan, Thursday, April 5, 2018. Heard, 31, said the experience has left an "indelible mark" on her. (AP Photo/Raad Adayleh)

The very notion that reporting domestic abuse should be a bad career move seems faintly ridiculous, but that’s exactly what happened to Heard. Shortly after the claims were made public knowledge she was dropped from a movie and that her role was re-cast. She had been shooting a two-year campaign for a global fashion brand that mysteriously disappeared into the ether, and “questions arose” as to whether she would still be playing the role in the film that she is now promoting, “Aquaman”

© John Salangsang/Invision/AP FILE - In this April 12, 2016, file photo, Amber Heard attends the LA Premiere of "The Adderall Diaries" in Los Angeles. Heard and "Aquaman" director James Wan shared pictures of Heard in character as Aquaman's love interest Mera on Thursday, May 18, 2017. "Aquaman" is currently filming in Australia. (Photo by John Salangsang/Invision/AP, File)

Unsurprisingly, Johnny Depp didn’t suffer quite the same crises of PR. This year alone he was cast in the title role of 2018’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and returned as the face of Dior’s Sauvage fragrance. While the allegations tainted Heard and obstructed her career GQ described Johnny Depp as an “outlaw”, and the same allegations had as much sticking power to him as Teflon. The entire abuse narrative was re-written as an edgy, brooding subtext casting Depp in the character of the conflicted anti-hero.

© Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP Amber Heard arrives at the premiere of "Aquaman" at TCL Chinese Theatre on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

“Imagine a powerful man as a ship, like the Titanic.” Amber Heard writes in the Washington Post “That ship is a huge enterprise. When it strikes an iceberg, there are a lot of people on board desperate to patch up holes – not because they believe in or even care about the ship, but because their own fates depend on the enterprise”

© Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP Amber Heard arrives at the American Music Awards on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

It speaks volumes that Heard’s own public treatment bears such stark contrast to Depp’s. In the months after the story broke, over a third of the posts around the divorce specifically called into question Heard’s character and credibility, while a mere 9% of the comments blamed Depp. The same publication conducted a study which found that in the public reaction, four times as many people attacked Heard rather than Depp. The article that published these findings concluded that essentially this is because we like Depp – we’ve seen him playing roles in films that we’ve enjoyed, we may have even had posters of him pinned up on our walls and therefore we want to trust that he is not an abusive man.

Jason Whiting writes “We assume that we know someone from their friendly public face, and it’s hard to adjust these impressions and accept that likable people can do hurtful things".

What seems to have been forgotten, is that the way in which the narratives and stories of domestic abuse are played out in the media are often to pivotal to whether or not abused women report their abuse. In the case of Amber Heard, when these narratives proliferate the fear that you will be called a liar – it contributes to those women, the one in three women who will be physically assaulted in the lifetime by their partner, the ones who you may unknowingly work or live with or walk past on the street, not coming forward.

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