We often see celebrities as untouchable beings who only experience the good side of life, but the reality is they have the same issues and go through the same struggles and hardships as anyone else.
That was the case with #Aquaman actress Amber Heard, who suffered domestic abuse at the hands of her now-ex husband, Johnny Depp. After some time out of the spotlight, the actress has written an essay for Porter magazine, addressing all women who might have had the experience of an abusive relationship and be too scared to speak up. She began by saying
"My silent sisters everywhere, you may have suffered alone behind closed doors, but you are not alone. I want to remind you of your strength, a strength that has been multiplied by the number of women who stand silently behind you — a truth that allowed me to break down the doors I once found myself behind."
"Let's start with the truth — the cold, hard truth. When a woman comes forward to speak out about injustice or her suffering, instead of aid, respect and support, she will be met with hostility, skepticism and shame. Her motives will be questioned and her truth ignored. It's no wonder so many of us feel we have to keep quiet or risk our own safety to try to maintain our dignity by quietly enduring,"
Here, she's referring to the public shaming she had to endure after her abuse allegations and her divorce were made public. When a picture of her bruised face surfaced online, many were quick to judge her, calling her names and stating she was just after #JohnnyDepp's money. Here are a few examples of what was said to her:
Another user wrote:
"This Amber Heard seems to be playing the victim card, seems like she's out to destroy Johnny Depp's career."
Due to domestic abuse being such a traumatic experience, people who suffer from it prefer the term "survivor" instead of "victim," and Amber references this, too:
"I was raised to be independent and self-reliant. I was never given nor wanted the burden of dependency. I never felt like anyone would or could rescue me, so naturally I resented the label of ‘victim.'"
She finished the letter with this:
"As I write this today, I can promise every woman who is suffering in silence: You are not alone. You may not see us, but we are there."
It's an important point to make. Thousands of women (and men, though to a far lesser extent) suffer from domestic abuse every day and most of it occurs behind closed doors. The partners abusing them could be seen as outstanding members of their community, good neighbors or exceptional friends, with nobody aware of or willing to believe they could be abusive, leaving the women receiving the abuse feeling alone and lost. It's also worth noting that it often takes victims of abuse months if not years to come to terms with the fact they were abused.
Fortunately though, the fight against domestic abuse now has #AmberHeard as a spokesperson. She released a PSA regarding this problem this November via Girlgaze:
Hopefully, her celebrity status will encourage more women to come forward and not be afraid to be open about what they're enduring.
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