Depp v. Heard Verdict: What this means for victims of abuse

On June 1st, 2022, the Depp v. Heard verdict was finally released, resulting in a legal win for Depp. The two actors, Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, went face to face in a six week long trial by jury taking place in Fairfax, Virginia. 

Following a turbulent marriage that ended in 2016 after only one year, accusations began pouring out from both sides about domestic violence. Amber Heard published an op-ed piece in 2018, describing herself as a public figure representing domestic abuse. This prompted Johnny Depp to sue her for defamation, as he claimed that some of the statements made by Amber were not only false, but cost him huge roles in his acting career. As the trial pursued, the 7 member jury was exposed to tremendous amounts of evidence and testimony from both sides. The petitioner and the respondent each had problems of their own thrown into play, including Johnny Depp’s history of alcohol and drug problems, as well as Amber Heard’s history of domestic violence. 

Ultimately, Johnny Depp was granted legal victory after Amber Heard was found liable on three counts of defamation. The result of this verdict has prompted a response from the world that now acknowledges a lesser seen side of the story, which is the narrative that men can be victims too. Justice has been a topic fought for by a multitude of people representing different groups for many years, and the result of this case puts an emphasis on representing men that have fallen victim to domestic violence. 

It is important that from this verdict, society can comprehend the fact that only believing someone because of their identity, whether that is gender, ethnic, or religious, is not the most reliable option, as something like one’s gender does not automatically make them the victim. The case has had a vast impact, raising the importance of taking into account that regardless of gender, anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse.