It is a dangerous moment for domestic violence

Picture with the letters love

Real life

No matter who wins the high-profile court trial of two famous Hollywood actors, the biggest losers are victims of domestic violence. Because of the high-profile nature of the plaintiff and defendant, they are arguing their case in front of a judge and the court of public opinion. It’s almost as if people forget that this is real life, that this is not a show that we’re all watching.

No one knows the truth of their relationship, but many fans seem to have promised loyalty before the court had seen and heard the evidence. The testimony against his ex-wife initiated a groundswell of public support. Numerous memes appeared on social media. Clips of Depp in full Pirates of the Caribbean costume. Many of his fans construct him as an innocent, harmless man-child. However, the characterisation of Depp as a hard done, gentle and the ever-composed, shy artist is not consistent with his reputation in Hollywood.

Depp’s actress ex-wife has been cast as a lying, attention-seeking narcissist who’s crushed Depp’s profession – and heart. Even her makeup and facial expressions were dissected following the first day of her testimony. While telling the court of alleged incidents of sexual abuse and threats to kill her, she was widely mocked. She’s also been accused of crying without tears and “over-acting”. When people ridicule her, they’re inadvertently laughing at everyone who has said they are victims of abuse. The 1 in 4 women who have experienced intimate partner violence is watching, listening and considering the cost of voice. Experts suspect the case will contribute to silencing victims who worry about being disbelieved, who, on much smaller scales, must weigh the judgment and attacks they’re willing to encounter.

Just because someone might be violent towards the other person in a relationship doesn’t mean that they were necessarily the primary abuser or aggressor. For example — a person could be physically violent towards their abuser in self-defence or if they were triggered by the abuse that occurred in the relationship.

Relationships are complicated

Phot of child with two women on bed laughing

Things are always easier to make sense of when it is evident when one person is the victim and the other a perpetrator, but relationships are comprised of people, and people are complicated. Most relationships show problems in both partners. Sadly, this case is an example of a toxic relationship, and no one is coming out of it unhurt. It is so complicated that it’s difficult to predict an outcome.

Regardless of what anyone thinks about the relationship dynamics, it is a public spectacle proving as dangerous as it is divisive.

Reach out to a trained counsellor

We know that talking about sexual, domestic and family violence can be difficult. So when you contact 1800RESPECT, you will speak with a trained counsellor who will listen and support you in what feels suitable for you and your situation.

They will work with you to help you identify what you can do and find the right services or support for you. Everyone’s situation is different, and no one knows your situation better than you.

They can be contacted by phone or online chat, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.