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Why Johnny Depp's Case Could Be Turning Point For Male Domestic Abuse Survivors

Photo: Matteo Chinellato / Shutterstock
Amber Heard, Johnny Depp

With Johnny Depp's defamation trial against Amber Heard concluding with both parties being ordered to pay damages to one another, a debate about domestic abuse is continuing outside the courtroom.

The trial has become a central issue in debates around misogyny, the lasting impacts of MeToo, and the realities of domestic abuse.

Although these debates have been controversial, unforgiving towards both Depp and Heard and, at times, lacking nuance, the publicity of Depp's claims may have one key positive impact.

The Johnny Depp-Amber Heard trial could be a turning point for male domestic violence survivors.

When Depp, a man associated with fame, power and success, openly declared himself a victim of domestic violence he probed an issue that has long silenced male survivors.

We don't think of men like Depp as being easily victimized. Falsehoods about men's ability to overpower abusive women and easily escape abusive situations has stopped many men who may look like Depp from coming forward.

RELATED: 5 Unusual 'Rules' Amber Heard Reportedly Made Johnny Depp Follow

In the audio recording played in court, Heard tells her ex-husband, "Tell the people it was a fair fight and see what the judge and jury think. Tell the world, Johnny."

"Tell them, ‘I, Johnny Depp, I’m a victim, too, of domestic violence, and it was a fair fight,’ and see if people believe or side with you."

When asked on the stand about this and how Depp responded to Heard, Depp said, "I am." 

Given the high-profile nature of the case, Depp has, at the very least, diversified the image that comes to mind when we think of abuse victims.

Men can be abuse victims too.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1 in 4 men has experienced intimate partner violence compared to 1 in 3 women. 

While many of these men suffer in silence, Depp may have given a voice to their pain.

RELATED: The Verdict In Johnny Depp V. Amber Heard No Longer Matters — Abuse Survivors Face The Harshest Sentence

While the case continues to be spoken about online, men have slowly been sharing their stories, relating to Depp in a way not previously seen in mainstream media.

Breaking the silence that has surrounded male victims could be monumental for men trying to escape abuse.

There has also been more open dialogue seeking to educate Depp's critics about the realities of being a male victim.

Liana Kerzner's tweet allowed male victims to tell their stories on this thread and showed that it's not just women who are victims, but men can also be the victim. 

"Often it takes high-profile cases, high-profile victims of anything, to gain the change in our society and the change in perspective that is critical," Sterling said in her interview. 

Unfortunately, Sterling is correct about this; it usually takes a high-profile individual to come forward about something like this.

But when they do, it allows victims who were afraid to tell their story to finally have the courage to speak up and say they were a victim.

If you or someone you know is facing domestic violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline for help at (800) 799-SAFE (7233), or go to www.thehotline.org for more. 

RELATED: Video Captures Contrast Between How Amber Heard & Johnny Depp Are Treated By Crowds Outside Court

Kurtis Condra is a writer at YourTango based in San Francisco California. When he's not busy attending college, scouring the internet for news and entertainment; he's outside writing in his journal.

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