For six weeks, the defamation case that the actor Johnny Depp filed against his ex-wife Amber Heard offered a rare instance of high-profile #MeToo charges and countercharges being hashed out in the public spotlight of a courtroom. https://t.co/ItJXGvuXZ0
— The New York Times (@nytimes) June 2, 2022
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Women with toxic tendencies thrived during the #MeToo movement because it gave them more power and a cloak to hide their abuse.
They knew that they could get away with anything and have the upper hand on any male victim they entrapped. These women didn’t care that they were doing damage to their fellow sisters by hijacking their struggle and using it to cover up their own committed abuse. But their day of reckoning has finally come, and karma has caught up.
Johnny Depp was awarded $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages in his defamation suit. In fairness, the jury also awarded Heard $2 million in compensatory damages. In a way, the $15 million versus $2 million payout is symbolic as a monetary representation of the abuse ratio that seemed to have occurred in this relationship.
The lawsuit was never really about the money for Mr. Depp. He was willing to painfully show the world the ugliest sides of his personal life for the sake of clearing his name against the horrible accusations that have been thrown at him by a vindictive woman. Just like any victim speaking out, it took a tremendous amount of courage for Johnny Depp to fight back, even though he knew that his own self-destructive behavior and toxicity would be in the spotlight as a result of it. He laid it all out on the table, and ultimately, the truth prevailed.
Let us be clear: Johnny Depp was abusive, but Amber Heard was an abuser.
And it’s important to know the difference.
Amber Heard attempted to position herself as a “voice for women” against abusive men, but her actions were consistently more in alignment with being an abuser. She defecated on his bed, threw glass bottles at him, egged on his addiction, made him lose a finger, emasculated him constantly, verbally abused him, secretly recorded his triggered reactions to use against him in court, and then publicly accused him of being the one who’s the abuser in an attempt to defame him.
She worked with TMZ to stage a photo, cheated on him, punched him, stalked his children, and attempted to extort him amongst other things.
And you know what? It worked.
“Tell the world Johnny, tell the world, that I, Johnny Depp, a white man, is a victim of domestic violence, and let’s see who believes you and how many people get on your side.”
These are the words of Amber Heard. And at the time, she was right.
When she first accused him, everybody believed her, including me. Because that’s what we’re supposed to do when a woman speaks out, especially because so many victims are afraid to. And even with this situation and what I’m about to share, I still think it’s what we should do.
We shouldn’t allow a few women with toxic tendencies to change the general narrative that women who speak out are all lying. But we also shouldn’t automatically grant all women a free pass to make up whatever they want and weaponize the #MeToo movement against men.
Because this is 100 percent happening more than we care to admit.
And that is why this trial and verdict were so important.
This one is for all the good men who have had their lives destroyed by these kinds of women. For all the fathers who lost custody of their children by default just for being male. For the ones who have been physically, emotionally, and mentally abused by women and were never believed or had a safe space to talk about their feelings or be held.
We often forget that men are also victims of toxic masculinity.
This is their healing moment and one that says that abuse can happen from and to any gender. And this is not to take the conversation away from female victims.
Amber Heard is the exception and not the norm.
But I believe that it’s an important moment to allow abused men to have their day. I believe it can actually expand empathy from men by helping them realize what the #MeToo movement must have meant to the generations of women who went through the same thing in silence without their validating moment like the one we just got today.
Yes, abused men mostly had to be silent during the #MeToo days in order to give the space for women’s voices to take the stage. But if being silenced, and then having your experience validated felt healing and empowering for you on this day, imagine what the #MeToo movement meant for women who had to be silent their entire lives.
I believe some bridges were formed today because the real issue here is about abuse. On a spectrum, we have all acted harmfully to others at some point in our lives. Abuse can take on many forms and can come from any of us. But there has to be consequences and transparency.
This trial showed us just how damaging and ugly abuse can become if left to run rampant without accountability or an effort to course-correct. It showed us just how important it is to take our healing seriously. But focusing on the individual’s experience outside of the social context, watching the trial has been highly triggering for abused men who have dealt with women like Amber Heard. Women who have destroyed and manipulated them and then went on and lied to the world about it.
The elements of sex, money, power, and fame are not inherently destructive on their own, but all of them can be used to build or destroy. It is clear now which path Amber Heard took.
We sat there and watched her lie over and over again, and her bad acting and crying without tears made us cringe. Every cell in the body of any man who has gone through this was screaming, “She’s lying!”
And in the past, that loud voice would then be silenced by another voice saying, “Nobody is going to believe me.”
Have you checked in on the men in your life lately? Because while 1 out of 3 women has experienced physical violence by an intimate partner, so have 1 out of every 4 men.
Did you know that?
This past decade has been a painful time for abused men because they were in an impossible scenario. As a male, you wanted to be supportive of the women in your life, but as a victim, you wanted to speak out again abuse.
On one end, they knew what they were going through was real. But on the other end, there was never a right time to jump into the conversation because, historically, women have gone through far worse and far more often.
#MeToo was their time to have their voices heard, and it was men’s time to listen and support them. It was the first time that victims of abuse had the spotlight on an international stage and through a social movement, but it ended up excluding male victims due to the fact that most perpetrators are men themselves, and most victims are women. And in this, we ended up missing out on a larger discussion that impacts all victims of domestic violence.
A man who was abused jumping into the conversation and saying #MeToo felt a lot like an #AllLivesMatter response.
This isn’t about you, bro.
But today definitely is.
This trial hit me hard personally because of what I went through myself. I was in my first ever abusive relationship during the height of the #MeToo movement.
When I left the relationship, this person destroyed my reputation in the community, just like Amber Heard. She knew that she had all the power because I was a male public figure during the height of #MeToo. And it worked. I just had to sit there and take it.
Even though she was the abuser, she convinced everybody the opposite was true.
There is a concept called crazymaking, where the abuser pushes their victim to a breaking point and then uses the victim’s reaction as evidence that they’re actually the villains.
There is also a concept called reactive abuse.
I don’t know how much of Johnny’s toxicity fell under that category. And while reactive abuse or having a triggered toxic reaction is a bit more justified than being a consistent intentional abuser, it doesn’t mean that it’s okay.
In my case, it was really on me, as the victim, to take responsibility for my own toxic reactions. The real work would have been me loving myself enough to leave that situation rather than stay in it until I got to the point where I was matching their toxicity—which is what I believe happened with Mr. Depp.
A man in his power can often attract women with toxic tendencies who leech off that energy and use it against them. Today’s version of me knows better and would’ve walked away at the first red flag.
But at the time, I had no idea what narcissism and gaslighting were. I found out the hard way. I naively didn’t realize how hurtful some people could be because I was so blinded by trying to find ways to support them, even if it required me bending over constantly to appease them.
I just wanted to love them, and that level of blind faith made me a prime target for these kinds of women who would use me. I was so hyper-focused on how to be a healthy man that I didn’t realize there was even such a thing as an unhealthy woman. I was so focused on apologetically making up for centuries of oppression and toxic masculinity that I didn’t know there was such a thing as toxic femininity—which itself is a byproduct of toxic masculinity.
The bottom line is that this isn’t Depp versus Heard. This isn’t about men versus women.
It’s really about healing versus toxicity. It’s about our ego versus love.
It’s about intergenerational trauma versus paving a better way for the future.
But in order to get there, we have to honor the experiences of all people. It’s part of the healing process.
The same way that #MeToo was a time for female victims to be heard…even if it’s just for this week…let us hear the pain of all the men who have been abused in silence by destructive and manipulative women. Many of their lives have been destroyed, and even though they’re in the minority when it comes to abuse, their stories still matter
Here’s a poem that was written by Seth Walker:
Dear Johnny Depp,
People keep posting,
‘You’d never believe how common this is.’
For too long ‘chivalry’
Men charging in…
To save the distressed damsel
Men made war zones and scorched earth….
Over fantasies of ‘but if I stand for her,
I can eventually sleep with her.’
We did this to ourselves Johnny.
This is the inevitability of man’s toxicity.”
You can listen to the rest of the poem here.
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