The streaming of the defamation trial brought by Johnny Depp against Amber Heard has fuelled media commentary and public speculation on a situation that is deeply troubling and triggering for survivors of domestic abuse. Whatever the facts are, we have seen language and allegations used against Amber Heard that are common when abusers turn on survivors to undermine their credibility and paint them as the perpetrator using sexist tropes about 'hysterical' women and 'gold-diggers'.
Any experts working with survivors and perpetrators of domestic abuse understand the need to assess the power dynamics at play, the perceived and actual risks to individuals' safety, and the survival mechanisms employed by survivors. The impact of trauma on survivors both psychologically and physically is substantive.
The delight taken in daily updates and the details revealed in court in many media reports and social media speculation reflects none of that expertise. Many women don't speak up about domestic abuse through fear; fear of reprisal, negative backlash and their private lives being place on display and judged. This public trial will be reinforcing that fear.
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