Unpopular Opinion: We Should Not Hate Amber Heard
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If the headline was indicative enough, this post may get some people triggered — especially after seeing some of the anti-Amber vitriol that’s been circulating around the Twitter-sphere.
A quick refresher — Amber Heard and ex-husband Johnny Depp had a conversation leaked that indicated that she had abused him. Presumably, he was recording surreptitiously because she had no idea and TBH, his voice sounded pretty close to the source.
If you haven’t heard it already, it has been made permanent by this tweet:
TRIGGER WARNING: ABUSE
TW: Abuse Survivors.
Here’s the audio where Amber Heard mocks Johnny Depp for calling for help while she was abusing him, she then loses her temper and fully admits to abusing him but proceeds to shame him again.
— Sienna (@winonasrider) January 31, 2020
But really, it needs to be said — hating Amber Heard is NOT the narrative that we need right now.
This is because hating her provides a platform for misogynists to come back out of the woodwork. Hating her will allow woman-haters to hate in public in plain sight.
Before anything else let me just clarify.
Women have gone through so much to get to where they are now, and we’re talking about literally generations and centuries of suppression and being preyed on and victimised. We’ve only just been able to cast away the last remaining bits of misogyny, as the digitised world and things like hashtags and trending topics has information spread faster than you can say Me Too.
Take the #MeToo movement, where women who were victims of sexual harassment were finally being heard and the stories that were buried came out to light. White roses donned by celebs paying tribute to Time’s Up — another Hollywood-driven movement to take a stand against sexual abusers.
We were victims for so long, and it was finally time to be empowered.
Hating Amber Heard for her mistakes allows for all that hard work to unravel and come undone. Here’s where it’s suddenly okay to have woman-hating slurs thrown all over the Internet.
She’s “hysterical”. She “overreacts”. She’s the “crazy” one. “Hey, you know, she’s crazy.”
Now, if the same was done by a male to his partner, people would still hate on him, but he would not be labelled “crazy” for beating on his wife or his girlfriend. He’s just that a**hole dude who beats on his wife or girlfriend. Tell me I’m wrong!
We live in a very hotly digitised world. The Internet and social media have an ever-expanding role in cultural criticism but having a stance or a stand, hating, then hating on a person makes it all increasingly contentious.
Made even worse by the anonymity of the Internet, people can throw around abuse and restart misogyny in the space where we’re meant to be safer.
If men and women are hating on a woman, then we have no hope.
I’m not saying that we should sympathise with the/this abuser in this case. But turning it too quickly against her is not going to solve anything or go anywhere.
But let’s help to reframe the whole situation, as we desperately need to look at what she did as far removed from gender as possible: One person had physically assaulted the other person, which by law is illegal and by logic is not right as it inflicts pain to the other party. It was not right legally and morally.
There is psychology behind abuse and we should educate ourselves about why it happens, and how to prevent it. Amber Heard caused pain upon someone else, and it’s obvious she needs to seek help. But in this situation we should not hate on her for the greater good, rather, we should understand the situation and the context a little better, and make sure that there aren’t repeat cases.
If you or someone you know may be in an abusive situation with a partner, there are resources to get help. You can call the WAO at +603 7956 3488 (restricted times) or Whatsapp them at +6018 988 8058 (24 hours). www.wao.org