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As A Survivor Of Domestic Abuse, I Want To Believe Amber Heard — But I Can’t And Here's Why

Photo: taniavolobueva / Shutterstock
amber heard

First, let me make it clear that I’m not a Johnny Depp nor an Amber Heard fan.  I’m just a spectator.

Two years ago, I read a headline about how Depp lost the UK trial against The Sun for calling him a “wife-beater.” That convinced me he abused her.

Then, somewhere along the road, I read another headline that Heard donated the $7 million divorce settlement from Depp to two charities.

RELATED: The Assassination Of Amber Heard

I also watched a video that Heard took of Depp yelling profanities while slamming kitchen cabinets — a video that went viral and exploded on social media.

This confirmed to me that Depp was indeed a “wife-beater.”

I felt for Heard and was happy when she divorced that prick.

Then, Depp fans started a campaign of victim-blaming claiming he was the actual victim.

I rolled my eyes. Crazy fans. The depths they’ll go to support him.

Besides, she donated all her money to charities. That poor woman just wants out, like all domestic abuse victims.

Photo Credit: The Sun 

Then, the trial happened

I don’t like seeing anyone get destroyed online through comments and videos.

Nor is it fun to watch Heard’s painful testimony alleging Depp abused her, especially because I know what that abuse is like.

I also don’t like hearing audio recordings of two adults who are obviously toxic to each other.

RELATED: Amber Heard Is Proof We Have Learned Nothing From Monica Lewinsky

The trial showed us Depp was drunk and drugged out during their relationship.

He lashed out at her through profanities and maybe hit her (there are Heard’s pictures of injuries, but they are minor).

But, there is also no denying that Heard was physically and emotionally abusive to Depp, as evidenced by the recordings and pictures of Depp bruised.

The most vicious attack occurred when Depp alleged Heard threw a vodka bottle at him and severed the tip of his middle finger. Amber has a different version of the story.

We can go through evidence after evidence, but it’s quite obvious that even if Depp loses, he has already won the public opinion. (Editor's Note: Depp was awarded $15 million in defamation damages, Heard was awarded $2 million.)

According to the Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey, 40% of American adults believe Depp is probably telling the truth and only 10% believe Heard is. The rest are undecided.

But, we don’t need a survey to tell us that on social media, Depp is smashing it.

An overwhelming number of people are rooting for Depp with hashtags like #JusticeForJohnny and booing Heard with hashtags like #AmberIsaTurd.

Why?

Is it because of misogyny, as many attest? Jessica Taylor, a psychologist specializing in sexual violence states in The Independent:

Taylor adds that thousands of women victims of domestic violence are “…frightened by the way Amber has been pulled apart, mocked and humiliated.”

If this is true, this is quite disturbing. We can’t let that happen now, can we?

RELATED: Amber Heard Says She Is ‘Heartbroken’ In Statement After Johnny Depp Wins Defamation Trial

Women should be believed when they claim abuse — that’s what society tells us.

So, why is it so hard to believe Amber Heard?

Does it have to do with video recordings of Amber mocking and admitting to hitting Johnny?

“I didn’t punch you. I hit you!”

Or, the recording of her taunting him?

"Tell the world, Johnny, tell them, Johnny Depp — I, Johnny Depp, a man, I’m a victim too of domestic violence” and challenging him to “see how many people believe or side with you.”

How is it that the public thinks Heard is making all this up — even when it’s known our society is predisposed to believe women when she accuses a man of abuse?

How come, I — a survivor of domestic violence, narcissistic, borderline, and histrionic abuse — believe Depp more than Heard?

Body language matters

Non-verbal language is a big part of communication. It’s how we make judgments about a person.

We can tell when someone is lying, like if something someone says doesn’t align with their facial expression.

This is Amber’s biggest problem.

During the trial, she exaggerates her facial expressions to induce tears, but there are no tears.

She changes her facial expression from one moment to another.

She looks at the jury to answer. I know what you’re thinking. Oh ‘c’mon, give her a break. 

Hear me out.

Maybe she was instructed to behave this way by her lawyers. This was bad advice that made her look desperate and contrived. And, by the way, it would have had the same effect on a man.

She smirks during her deposition when they played audio of her admitting to striking Depp.

She also smirked many times during the trial. Smirking is not good. It’s associated with a narcissistic trait.

If you read the comments online, a multitude of victims of abuse agrees that these are unusual reactions for someone who has been abused.

Credit: Twitter, @queryalways

You may say it’s a dangerous road to take when society dissects a woman’s reaction to the tee — that there is no perfect victim.

Yes, a woman should be able to smirk, roll her eyes, snicker, cry without tears, and act however she wants without spears directed at her.

But, can we please give the public more credit here?

RELATED: How Men's Rights Activists Turned The World Against Amber Heard

We, humans, have this incredible ability to sense when something is off, don’t we? We are intuitive creatures, aren’t we? Reading people is an important aspect of human interaction, don’t you agree?

Credit: Twitter, @camelot331

I’m not saying that facial expressions and body language alone should be the tell-all of why someone is guilty.

With Heard, in addition to her atypical expressions, there are mountains of evidence that don’t align with the actions of someone who has been abused, like when she gifted a knife to Depp.

When asked about it, she said, “I didn’t think he’d stab me.”

Or the recordings of her taunting him and admitting she didn’t punch him, but she “hit” him.

How about all the $7 million that she said she claimed she donated to two charities — something that confirmed to me that she was credible — that was a lie. She used word salad to try to convince the jury that she used “donation and pledge synonymously.”

The most damning evidence came from a former employee of TMZ. It sealed Heard’s fate.

He didn’t name her but implied she supplied TMZ with the viral video of Depp slamming kitchen cabinets, yelling profanities, and pouring a “mega pint” of red wine.

Then, she tipped off TMZ so they could photograph her bruised face while filing for a restraining order against her ex-husband.

Yet, Heard adamantly denied everything.

We would have understood if she confessed. She was up against a powerful man and wanted to be believed. We get it.

As a survivor, I want to believe Amber. But, how can I when the more she testifies, the more I doubt her?

If you want to see what I mean about her body language, here’s a video by an expert who confirmed what I saw:

Even the founder of an international women’s abuse organization, Mission NGO, has released a public statement in support of Depp.

"MISSION NGO women from all over the world stand against domestic violence, regardless of gender, age, or race. Our mission is to educate men and women, with no gender differences, to keep talking and living in the values of love, mutual comprehension, and sensitivity in order to prevent all kinds of violence, against women against men, and against children.

As women, we have compassion and we feel empathy not for THE star, THE talent, THE actor but for a man, a father, a worker, A HUMAN. Mental Health is something we have to care about to live in a positive environment where women and men can love and respect each other without any kind of abuse and violence. We are human and we have to find the HUMANITY we are born to live for."

In a #MeToo society when women alleging abuse have the upper hand, Amber is failing miserably.

But — Amber is mentally ill

We heard Dr. Curry, the Depp team’s psychologist, say that Heard suffers from borderline and histrionic personality disorders.

I feel for those who have these disorders. The emotional highs and lows can’t be easy.

But, I know from experience that it’s also not easy to be on the other end reluctantly riding the rollercoaster that never ends.

On top of that, arguing with someone with BPD is like scratching your nails on a blackboard: the gaslighting, the blaming, the manipulating, and the grudge get to be too much.

I’m not saying everyone with BPD is awful. I’m only attesting to my experience.

I have empathy for Amber. I do.

But it’s hard to feel for those who create so much suffering for others.

It’s hard to feel for those who never think they’re wrong.

It’s hard to feel for those who lie.

That is Amber’s biggest issue.

Bottom line: she’s not credible.

Besides the overwhelming evidence and inconsistencies against her, there is a reason Amber gets hate.

It’s not because she’s a woman. It’s not because she wrote an op-ed about being a survivor of domestic abuse.

It’s also not because of misogyny, as many claim it is.

And, it’s definitely not because of Depp’s fame and overwhelming fanbase.

I’m not saying it’s because she has borderline and histrionic personality disorders.

I’m sure there are many with these disorders who aren’t like Heard.

She’s getting hate because she’s simply not believable.

June Kirri is a Third Culture Kid (TCK) who was born in Kathmandu and bred in Tokyo and San Francisco. She is a former journalist/editor turned writer with an itch for social issues. Follow her on Twitter

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This article was originally published at Medium. Reprinted with permission from the author.