Johnny Depp's judicial victory is "potentially catastrophic" for victims of violence

Johnny Depp’s judicial victory is “potentially catastrophic” for victims of violence


The defamation lawsuit against Amber Heard against Johnny Depp in the United States and its broadcast on television will have a “potentially catastrophic” impact on victims of domestic violence, women’s advocacy groups say.

• Also read: Standing ovation for Johnny Depp in England

• Also read: Johnny Depp’s victory

• Also read: Amber Heard is not a “perfect victim”

The six-week debate in Fairfax Court, near Washington, turned to the big unpacking of the privacy of the Hollywood star couple who accused each other of violence.

Jurors ruled in favor of the “Pirate of the Caribbean” on Wednesday and awarded him just over $ 10 million in damages, ruling that the 36-year-old actress had defamed her ex-husband by posing as “a personality Representing Domestic Violence ”in a forum published in 2018, even though Johnny Depp was not mentioned.

Judge Penney Azcarate had decided to allow television hearings to be broadcast on the high-profile case, despite opposition from Amber Heard’s lawyers.

For Michele Dauber, a law professor at Stanford University and an activist against sexual assault on campus, it is “the worst decision a court has made in decades for victims,” ​​and it shows, she believes. a deep ignorance of sexual violence on the part of the judge ”.

According to Mme Dauber, Amber Heard, had to “describe her alleged rape with raw details on television.” It’s shocking and it should offend all women and victims, whether they agree with the verdict or not. “

The last time a rape victim was forced to testify in public was in 1983, she notes.

“There is no public interest in this case, which could possibly outweigh the harm done,” said Mme Dauber, believing that from now on, “every victim will think twice before protesting and asking for a restraining order or talking to anyone about the abuse she has suffered.”

“Women can be injured, even killed, because they do not call for help.” This case was a complete disaster. It’s potentially catastrophic, ”she concludes.

The trial has fascinated an unaccustomed global audience to look at allegations of sexual assault within a couple, and that – regardless of opinion on the verdict – is a problem, warns Ruth Glenn, president of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV).

“I don’t think our society still understands the dynamics of domestic violence,” she told AFP.

This crucial context has not been sufficiently discussed in court debates, she said, adding that there is “no doubt” about the types of abuse that have been revealed. at trial.

“It simply came to our notice then. But as long as we don’t do that, we don’t show that kind of thing on TV, ”she warns.

Misogyny

The insulting messages Michele Dauber received for commenting on the trial on Twitter also illustrate, she believes, the growing opposition to women’s rights in the United States, in a context where the right to abortion is threatened in the Supreme Court.

Public opinion has backed Johnny Depp as his accuser has been the subject of “openly misogynistic” insults and jokes on social media, she said.

Amber Heard “metaphorically suffered the torment of tar and feathers,” says Mme Dauber, while the judgment was hailed by the American right.

The case also raises the question of the future of the #MeToo movement, one hashtag born in 2017 to encourage women to report sexual harassment and assault.

“It’s impossible not to see a return for #MeToo, women have gone too far. Ladies, we listened to you and condemned a few men. Don’t be too greedy, ”wrote a Reddit user.

But Tarana Burke, founder of #MeToo, says on Twitter that “this movement is ALIVE,” calling for a focus on the courage of millions of women who have reported violence rather than on legal battles, won or lost.

Ruth Glenn wants to see the trial as a “reminder of the work we still have to do.” “It’s a perfect example of a business that influences a culture,” she says.

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