Open Letter to Amber Heard From Domestic Violence Survivors
Amber Heard and her supporters have been subjected to unprecedented levels of criticism during her defamation trial against former husband Johnny Depp, which resulted in Depp receiving damages. While many experts in intimate partner violence say it has set an unwise precedent that may prevent survivors from coming forward with their experiences and reporting them – these experts include domestic violence organizations like National Organization for Women, National Women’s Law Center, Equality Now and Women’s March Foundation; these groups released an open letter Wednesday in support of Heard.
Signatories to this letter signed by over 130 national women’s groups and prominent feminist and domestic violence experts voiced strong objections to Heard being publicly shamed following her victory in her high-profile case, and called on others to defend her against misuse of defamation laws as a tool to silence victims of abuse.
NBC News reports that the group behind Wednesday’s open letter had long been fighting back against Heard critics on social media, but now felt it necessary to speak out publicly against these attacks. They stated in their open letter: “We believed it important to take this step, as defaming survivors can have real and lasting repercussions for their life and safety,” while fueling misogyny, biphobia, and an entertainment culture where woman’s allegations of domestic abuse are often denigrated as “fun.”
Heard was not available for comment but she has stated that her actions were both activism and personal responses to trauma she endured.
At her trial, Heard stated to the court she feared for her health and safety after Depp threatened her with bodily harm and sue her over an op-ed she wrote in The Sun alleging physical and emotional abuse by Depp. Depp was found not guilty by a jury in June; Heard has filed an appeal. Kalhan Rosenblatt covers youth culture for NBC News.