With the release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, there was controversy and back lash for Potter fans about the casting of Johnny Depp as the big bad for this movie, Gellert Grindelwald. This anger was rooted in Depp’s recent divorce from actress Amber Heard, and the abuse allegations Amber made against Depp. According to the tabloids, Amber had witnesses and graphic photos as prove of the domestic violence (DV) she received from Depp.
Many fan’s anger was rooted in the casting because many Potterheads, myself included, turned to Rowling’s books as an attempt to escape the abuse they were experiencing. While Heard’s name was being dragged through the mud by friends and fans of Depp, he got signed to a franchise where he may be a major part in the following four films. Fans had to choose between their love of the Potter universe, and supporting someone who may or may not have abused his wife.
Honestly, normally I don’t follow celebrity gossip. I cannot emphasis just how little I care about their lives, for the same reason why I don’t ask my bus driver about their life issues. It’s not my place, and it affects me very little.
With that being said, I am choosing to talk about Depp because of how naive people are when it comes to DV abusers and victims. Depp’s fans and friends have come out in droves spouting the very same myths I’m writing about for my Thesis paper, which are simply excuses that need to stop being believed.
Anyone can physically abuse their partner, even if they are a successful actor with a seemingly nonexistent history of abusing previous partners. There is no rhyme or reason why someone hits another person, and claiming that he just ‘doesn’t seem like an abuser’ or ‘his exwifes/girlfriends/etc are supporting him’ or ‘that she is just trying to get financial gain/attention/etc’ is doing way more harm than good.
When you say statements like this, you are re-victimizing someone who’s been traumatized. You are telling them that they do not matter, and the horror that they’ve experienced are lies. You are solidifying that the lies that their partner is telling them are true, and that no one will believe their claims against him simply because you believe . You are telling them that their pain does not matter, that they do not matter and you are making themselves think that they are crazy. YOU are the reason that only 25% of all physical assaults, 20% of all rapes, 50% of all stalking cases done to women by their partners go unreported.
God, do I hate people like you. You know nothing about DV, yet you are the ones screaming from the roof tops. You ask why she stays, instead of why is he abusing her. You look down on the person doing the most courageous thing they could ever do, and are shaming them for protecting themselves.
You are also showing your ignorance of a major issue, because someone who’s experienced DV in any shape or form would never shame a victim for stepping forward. They know the shame, anger, guilt and denial that surrounds this violence. You cannot understand the trauma that they’ve experienced from the hands of someone who claims to love them, and the ramifications that can have on them for the rest of their life.
Heard did drop her case of domestic violence against Depp, and in a joint statement they did claim that neither made claims for financial gain. Depp never denied or confirmed the allegations, so this will likely be forgotten by fans by the time Depp’s next movie comes out. I’m not sure how Heard will be affected, though I hope she can get the help that she needs.
I implore you: EDUCATE yourself on this subject before you scream into the abyss that is the internet, because your words are very powerful for those struggling. If you’d like to educate yourself on how we are programmed to view abusers, please read Why does he do it? by Lundy Bancroft.