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Lead Magnet Form (#3)

Who’s the victim?

I’ve been in that courtroom. I’ve appeared before that judge. I’ve sat in that witness chair. I’ve been there as a domestic violence survivor.

I watched like many Americans the drama unfold of the Depp vs. Heard trial. I followed it on Instagram, watched the Tik Toks that overwhelmingly seemed to favor Johnny Depp. I watched from a unique perspective as someone who has literally sat in that witness chair trying to renew a protective order from my abuser.

I do not know a survivor that was not triggered by this trial. I was. I’ve been cross examined by a female attorney that tried to make me look like I was the crazy one. I was the one who had been gaslighting for years. I was the one who was unstable.

As a woman I was enraged that another woman would cross examine me this way. In the times after the #MeToo movement I did not think another woman would tear me down, regardless of it being her chosen profession.

But as I played devils advocate in my head for this lawyer I began to realize that the age-old saying was entirely true. The saying goes, “there are three sides to every story; yours, mine, and the truth.” She only knew his. She only knew what he had told her and from what the one and only police report showed.

 It was a hard pill to swallow knowing that some people who did know us as a couple now viewed me as “crazy” or “dramatic” because I claimed my ex threatened my life and that of our children. He’s charming, he can be very kind and funny. If you are a friend he is the type to drop everything and help you. How could someone like that be abusive?

He was. Severely. But it was behind closed doors. Even my family and my closes friends had no idea what had been occurring until I my hand was forced, and I had to call the police to save my life. They had not witnessed any of it. We were always the picture-perfect Instagram couple and family.

Just as we the public only know what we have seen on TV and social media regarding the ill-fated marriage of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. None of us were there. None of us witnessed any of the abuse claims that either made towards each other. Being a fan of either actor does not make them our family or friends. Even if they were, who’s to say we would know what truly occurred?

It is not easy to air your dirty laundry in court. I can only imagine the impact it has on both individuals and their loved ones to do so in such a public manner with everyone having an opinion on such a sensitive subject. I can tell you what I am sure both would say to those of you who think you know who is at fault; “it’s none of your damn business.”

We weren’t there. We do not know what truly happened. These are two very real people who just had to relive some of their worst relationship moments in front of millions of people. I had to do it in front of 10. I can tell you it is traumatizing.

Who’s the victim in this case? The real victim is the subject of domestic violence. Domestic violence is very real and instead of putting each actor down let’s raise some more awareness for this sensitive subject. So instead of using your social media account to voice your opinion as to who is at fault, let’s use it to bring awareness to this important subject. Instead of gossiping with your friends about if Johnny Depp is a victim or not take 10 minutes to donate to a domestic violence awareness organization.

I’ve been there. I’ve sat in that courtroom. I’ve appeared before that judge. Use your time to bring awareness to this subject instead of tearing down these two actors.

*Originally submitted to the Washington Post Opinion section*

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