The boss of a domestic violence counseling service has revealed that since a jury delivered its verdict today in the libel trial of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, they have already been inundated with calls from survivors in Australia.
Hayley Foster, Managing Director of Full Stop Australia, said A topical matter she worries what Depp’s libel victory over his ex-wife Heard will mean for survivors of abuse.
“This case and similar cases make it difficult for people to speak up and it has a very chilling and quiet effect,” Foster said.
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Throughout the trial, Heard was ridiculed on social media for her behavior in court, but Foster said that when it comes to how DV survivors should conduct themselves, it’s important to remember “that ‘there is no perfect victim’.
“It’s not real life, real life isn’t just ‘someone behaves sweet and gentle and perfectly,'” Foster said.
“We have to get away from the idea that there is a perfect victim and if they are not looking, they are lying, they are exaggerating.”
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The Depp-Heard courtroom showdown played out in front of the world for six weeks, after Heard wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post in 2018 calling herself a “public figure representing violence domestic”.
Depp attempted to sue Heard for $69.5 million for defamation in US court, but he ultimately won $14.3 million (US), with the jury finding that Heard and Depp had been defamed.
Heard will receive $2 million.
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Following the result, Heard chose to respond on social media.
“I am heartbroken that the mountain of evidence has still not been enough to stand up to the disproportionate power, influence and sway of my ex-husband,” she told her followers. .
“I’m even more disappointed with what this verdict means for other women.”
As the jury’s result was announced, Depp fans sang outside the court in support of the actor, as he was spotted performing on a stage in London.
Depp said in a statement, “The jury has given my life back to me. I am truly humbled.”
Libel lawyer Rachel Fiset said in her opinion, “Based on the facts and the law, I believe the jury was wrong.”
“Johnny Depp had to show that she was lying and that she was doing it to hurt him, and then she had to say ‘no, I wasn’t lying,'” Fiset said.
Fiset added: “I think Mrs Heard went further than necessary”, which may have hampered her case.
“She basically had to show that he (Depp) had hit her once and…instead she went too far and at some point the jury started to disbelieve her,” the statement said. defamation lawyer.
Although she thinks the decision was “wrong”, Fiset said she was “not really surprised given the public support for Johnny Depp throughout the trial – on social media, outside the courtroom audience and hordes of fans inside the courtroom”.
Entertainment journalist Dean McCarthy said, “In Hollywood, the court of public opinion matters.”
But not all opinions are favorable to Depp.
After initial reports surfaced of her relationship with Heard, Depp’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was disfigured by a disgusted fan.
But time will tell if today’s result revives Depp’s career at Tinseltown.
Assistance is available from the National Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Counseling Service at 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732).
Help is available from the Men’s Referral Service on 1300 766 491.
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