Last year we watched the deterioration of the marriage between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. As the divorce played out, we also saw a disturbing pattern emerge — and it continues even now.
Photographs of Heard’s face, battered and bruised, are difficult to erase from memory. Photographs of her swollen eye socket, released as she filed a domestic violence restraining order against her husband in May, 2016, keep popping up behind our eyelids when we see Depp performing, or promoting the next Pirates of the Caribbean movie.
The video of Depp, taken by Heard, as he rants and smashes the doors of kitchen cupboards also stays with you. You can feel 30-year-old’s fear as she places the camera discreetly. You can hear the force in Depp’s voice as he yells at her: “You want to see crazy?”. You watch the screen shake and go black after he discovers the camera is rolling.
Heard was granted the restraining order on May 27. Two days later, a close friend of Depp's, Doug Stanhope, wrote a column for The Wrap accusing her of blackmail.
Heard retracted her request for spousal support in June, after she was labelled "financially motivated". She told the court her request was "being used against her to distract and divert the public away from the very serious real issue of domestic violence."
In August, the pair reached a divorce settlement and Heard pledged to donate $7 million to the American Civil Liberties Union, which works to stop violence against women, and the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles.
Depp planned to pay the charities directly, instead of going through Heard, giving himself a hefty tax deduction.
Do you see the pattern? You will now.
Sarah Ferguson and Andrew, a former abuser, talk about Domestic Violence in Australia. Post continues below.
In December Heard filed a Request for Order, claiming Depp hadn't paid the first or second installments of the divorce settlement. She also denied his request for $100,000 in court sanctions.
Now, Depp's team of lawyers has released a statement claiming she's doing it all for attention.
"Her [Request for Order] is entirely unnecessary under the law and suggests a last-ditch effort to garner media attention and somehow further her public persona by virtue of proximity to Johnny Depp," the response from Depp's lawyers states.
"From the inception of this dissolution Amber has sought to build a case in the court of public opinion. Amber is now courting renewed media attention with this unnecessary Request for Order.
"Her application is not only a blatant attempt to extend her 15 minutes of fame but also a waste of the Court's limited time and resources."
Isn't it such a predictable cycle? Where emotional abuse is continued long after the signs of physical trauma disappear.
When claims of domestic abuse are met with claims of blackmail, the abuse is continued.
When a woman is told she is chasing money in making the decision to divorce her husband after suffering domestic violence — alleged, in this case — the abuse is continued.
When a woman is told she is doing it all for attention - that she somehow chose and planned and is benefiting from the bruises that spread across her cheek and the lip that was too-often split - the abuse is continued.
No, we do not know exactly what happened in the relationship between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. But the pattern is all too familiar. (Post continues after audio.)
The victim is shamed. Her morals are questioned and her motivations are scrutinised. The offender? He keeps fuelling the questions and feeding the scrutiny.
We might not know what happened between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, but what a horrible, terrible message this sends to women who are currently experiencing situations of domestic violence and/or abuse. Who have bruised cheeks and split lips and are trying to understand if leaving is even possible.
The statement from Depp's lawyers reaches far beyond the actor's relationship with Amber Heard.
It's a continuation of abuse that leaves all victims of domestic violence wondering if the abuse will ever, can ever, stop.