Well, well, well: isn’t the Amber Heard vs Johnny Depp saga the saga that keeps saga-ing?
You would have thought that here was a straightforward case. Amber Heard, after all, admitted to physical violence, including throwing objects. There was evidence at-the plenty that she engaged in various forms of domestic abuse, including a video that she recorded herself (you can't make it up!) and where she can be seen sadistically relinquishing depriving him of needed medication. She was exposed as a liar on several occasions, not least when it come to her now infamous ‘make-up made-up’ injuries (among other lies and inconsistencies). Most importantly, and more tellingly perhaps, here's someone who already had an history of having been abusive to previous partner prior to be with Johnny Depp, who, unlike her, doesn't.
To anyone who has been in a domestically abusive relationship, and/ or actually went through the bother to follow the trial as exposed in its tapes (6 hours in length, on average), it was crystal clear, then, that Amber Heard is a perpetrator, that she was the one initiating abuse, that she showed all the signs of being coercive and controlling (even using, especially, her gender to further gaslight her victim) and that what we have witnessed here was nothing but what Ann Silvers, in 'Abuse of Men by Women' (an absolute must-read on the topic) called 'playing the DV con game' that is, when 'an abusive woman falsify information in order to manipulate the legal system' (here: 'to create havoc in his life').
And indeed, as far as many victims were/are concerned, this trial was a cornerstone for at least three reasons.
First, it contributed to highlight and increase awareness about the still taboo and neglected subject of male victims of domestic violence at the hands of female partners. In the UK for instance, 1 man out of 6 reports having been domestically abused by a girlfriend/ wife (figures are obviously higher, since 'to report' is everything but synonym of 'to experience'...), with reported men victims making up for about 40% of overall victims. This trial was a catalyst: many men felt empowered to speak up, without fearing disbelief and ridicule anymore. No doubt, if Johnny Depp is just one in a million, many more will come forward over time.
Then, it clearly reminded us that domestic abuse doesn't happen only during a relationship but can carry on post-separation. In this case, it’s a form of post-separation abuse that took the form of defamation campaigns and slanders, by a perpetrator trying to sabotage her victim's reputation as much as his career. It has also exposed the sexist double-standard still at play in our societies: while his acting career and reputation had been damaged following mere allegations, she, on the contrary, carried on receiving support from part of the establishment, even after having been found guilty.
Finally, it had brought to the fore the no less taboo topic of women throwing false allegations of abuse -while being in fact the abusive party- and using their gender as a way to gaslight further their victims and facilitate such undeserved victimisation. This, of course, is what especially disgusted, angered, even, triggered, most women who have really been victim of domestic violence, many taking it to social medias to fully support Johnny Depp. If most men victims weren't surprised in the least by Amber Heard's gaslighting tactic (I am currently writing a book on domestic violence affecting men, and, the threat of making false allegations is as common indeed as that of using children as bargaining pawns), for women victims her hijacking of their trauma for her own abusive, selfish gains, did absolutely nothing to help their cause, as many clearly made the point:
What this trial has done, though, goes beyond all that.
When it comes to domestic violence, what it has done is to contribute to exposing how truly inadequate, counter-productive, and, even, hypocritically self-interested -because completely sold out to demagogues- most of the campaigning sector has now truly become. As the saying goes: if you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention. It’s time to pay attention.
It was bad enough when powerful, established organisations such as Refuge gave their support, not to Johnny Depp, but to Amber Heard. How on earth did we get there, of course, would have been no surprise whatsoever to anyone knowing about domestic abuse from an expert perspective, and not from a lobbying/ charitable one. And indeed, for those interested, I have already exposed how expertise has been flushed down the drain to make way to ideology, an ideology which has been plaguing and controlling the domestic violence sector for at least the past 50 years, in a complete betrayal of what the women shelters’ movement purported to be in the first place.
It was bad enough when Johnny Depp lost his court case in the UK, but, then again, this should have come as no surprise either. If anything, his defeat in court truly exposed the flaws and failures of the British judicial system when it comes to such matter; failures and flaws that many legal experts themselves have otherwise brilliantly exposed and denounced -yet to no avail so far. As Dr Charlotte Proudman, one of Britain's most mediatised family barristers, and who identifies as a ‘glam feminist’ (and so support Amber Heard...) proudly asserted: in such matter (read: where a man is victim of false allegations), ‘evidence have nothing to do with this case’.
It was bad enough when all such supporters and organisations completely overlook the fact that Amber Heard, a bisexual woman, had an history of perpetrating domestic violence prior to be with Depp, including against a previous female partner. Coming from people and organisations otherwise claiming, ad nauseam and very self-righteously indeed, to be supportive of women victims, such oversight and deliberate discard might have smacked of revolting hypocrisy to anyone with their wit still about them, but, then again (and here again), it should have come as no surprise either -when it comes to female lesbians and bi victims, ideology took us that far, as I had exposed here.
It was bad enough, too, when the whole affair sunk even lower, for instance when Rihanna, who is a *real* victim of abuse (not a ‘make-up made-up one’, then) was trolled, insulted, abused online, and, even, ostracised by some of these people and for supporting Johnny Depp. For example, Eve Barlow, journalist and blogger, also identifying as 'feminist' (and having indeed quite a following within the most toxic trend of such movement) took pride in tweeting 'Fuck Rihanna' (in a tweet dated 4/11/22), while a Michele Dauber, professor at Stanford (no less) relentlessly engaged in harassing, abusive, and shit-posting tweets solely for the sake of demeaning her. The attacks could be vile for sure, but here too: was there any surprise? The very peculiar offshoot of feminist ideology that took us to that point stemmed mostly from what’s been dubbed ‘White feminism’, and to baffled onlookers nevertheless familiar with racial issues, if there was something disturbing indeed about a Black woman being trolled and attacked by nasty White women, ganging up together like bratty bullies in a school playground and to defend one of theirs, also White, it wasn't like the writing hadn't been on the wall for quite a while. Political whiteness is a thing indeed, and if there’s been a lot of preachy talks about so-called ‘internalised misogyny’ in our society, I have yet to see ‘internalised racism’ within the feminist movement (particularly in the USA) being addressed, especially, in matter of domestic abuse, when it comes to the cherry-picking of who deserves sympathy (here: an abuser) and who is, well, basically told to go and get fucked (here: a victim). About, I have already pointed to the marginalisation of BAME women within the campaigning sector, despite them being the most vulnerable. Nothing new here, then.
Could it sink even lower?
Amazingly (or not…): it did.
Last month (November 2022) an open letter came out in support of Amber Heard. The letter itself was/is an exercise in hypocrisy, gaslighting, DARVO, and misinformation. I will brush over its self-righteous content, since it stemmed from the belief that Amber Heard is innocent, and that her having been found guilty, let alone the bad rap she received for her lies and abuses, will negatively affect women victims and discourage survivors from coming forward...
As we have seen already, of course, nothing can be further from the truth. Not only Amber Heard had been everything but 'silenced' (please! She had the stage all for herself for months before her lies came backfiring), but, most importantly, more and more victims and survivors felt, on the contrary, emboldened to come forward!
Ha! But yes... These victims are (GASP!) male, and here's something that has visibly triggered misandrists and those supporting them. Well, tough luck. Who cares about misandrists anyway? As we have seen too, women who really have been victims of domestic violence poured their heart out in support of Johnny Depp. Some people, visibly, didn't bother to listen...
But who could have possibly signed this? Or, rather, who are these people?
A great deal has been written about it being endorsed by Gloria Steinem, supposedly ‘a feminist icon’. This is ignorance. Feminist 'icon' for who?
Feminism is not, and never was, a unified trend. It also has had, over the past few decades, a rocky history to say the least. If, until well into the 1970s, feminism could be considered as a civil rights movement of sort, solely concerned about gender equality and equity (what many still call ‘liberal feminism’), over the 1970s and onwards it has been injected with, and ultimately hijacked by, radically new ideas, inspired as much by post-structuralist and anti-Enlightenment philosophies as by far-leftist ideologies that is, neo-Marxism applied to gender issues.
It's not the purpose of this post to retrace such intestine ideological battles. Suffice to say, here, that not only this new wave of feminism ultimately turned the whole movement into a form of misandrist populism, whereas all men as 'a class' (‘the patriarchy’) are blamed for the supposedly victimisation of all women as 'a class' ('the sisterhood'), but, also, that here was a shift, away from empowerment and towards victimhood, then, to which Gloria Steinem fully contributed. Hers is not Betty Friedan. Hers is not Germaine Greer either.
Reckoning such breaking away from the liberal feminism (with which many mainstream women and men still otherwise adhere to) and move towards this misandrist, toxic, radfem offshoot matters, since it's an offshoot which has come to hijack even the domestic violence sector. Who remember Erin Pizzey?
Tellingly, then, since here is a toxic form of gender populism, it is no surprise to see no less toxic gender populists among the signatories. We find, for example, Dr Charlotte Proudman, the British family barrister for whom ‘evidence have nothing to do with a case’ should men be victimised. We find, also, some of the online trolls and harassers named above -such as Michele Dauber. Being about ideology, we find, obviously, many ‘women organisations’ too, sold out, hook, line, and sinker to the ‘patriarchal dogma’, a dogma which has been exposed by experts (in Britain, let's name Nicola Graham-Kevan, among many others) as being false and unhelpful. Unsurprisingly perhaps, we also find women such as Aisha Ali-Khan, someone who, herself, had been convicted (and served time) for an incident that many would consider pertaining to domestic issue too (revenge porn?). Birds of a feather...
And so those, then, are some of the 'illustrious' people claiming to support Amber Heard. If it looks like a motley crew of ideologues, gung ho organisations, online trolls, ex con, and, for the rest, their mostly clueless supporters, that's because, of course, it is.
The toxic saga, in fact, doesn't even end here...
Soon after signing, Michel Dauber deleted her twitter account following a scandal and complaints having embroiled Princeton and related to -allegedly- the suicide of a female student. If this affair is sordid as it is, here too, though, anyone who has read from Camilla Paglia to Christina Hoff Sommers wouldn't have been surprised, one bit, by how it has been unfolding so far. What has the take-over of American universities by radical feminists accomplished indeed? In terms of academic and intellectual brilliance: absolutely nothing. The curriculum in so-called 'Women Studies' departments have been lampooned enough, for their teaching of ideological dogma to that of pseudo-science, and, even, re-writing of history has having been 'his-story', making for whole generations of women passing through them completely ignorant of even basic, common knowledge. The only thing that came CLANG! CLANG! in their trails are from the normalisation of a bullying and abusive culture even among academia to the spreading of 'rape hysteria' on campuses (the sad heritage of an Andrea Dworkin and a Catherine MacKinnon, among others). It's an appalling achievement, but then again, Michele Dauber is just one of the many faces of it.
Far more concerning, though, is that such motley crew of many a toxic and ideologically driven people and organisations had the backing up of our mass medias, churning out the view that these are ‘experts’ in matter of domestic violence.
The claim to 'expertise', here, should seriously concern us all.
It should concern us, because most of the signatories, in fact, aren’t experts at all but just a bunch of random people having nothing to do with the domestic abuse sector -as one of my followers took the painstaking time to investigate.
It should concern us, because among the barely two dozen (a far cry from the mediatised hundred!) who purport to be, we find, here again, very questioning characters indeed. Being in Britain, I will name here Dr Jess Taylor, a psychologist who claim expertise on trauma yet has recently been embroiled into a controversy whereas she was accused of (ab)using the trauma of victims for her own publishing gains. Some female victims, in fact (again: real victims, not ‘make-up made-up’), and alongside other professionals, have raised serious ethical concerns about her investigative methods.
It should concern us, above all, because if such letter proudly asserts to be in support of Amber Heard, it, in fact, does absolutely nothing of the sort. On the contrary, it contributes to completely letting her down.
Amber Heard is a domestic abuser. And like every domestic abuser, she needs help in addressing her dysfunctional behaviours. Excusing her away in the name of a bogus politico-social narrative ('it's-the-patriarchy-stupid!') and/ or patronising over her, not least, by letting her believe that there is nothing wrong with what she has done, worse, that making her accountable is just ‘the patriarchy’ trying to further ‘oppress’ and/or 'revictimize' her (let alone 'silence' her!) does absolutely nothing in providing her with such desperately needed support.
Amber Heard has abused Johnny Depp. She has also abused a female partner before that. How many more victims is it going to take before we, as a truly compassionate, understanding, caring, and rehabilitating society (or so should we be) stop her destroying and self-destroying? People who signed that letter, here, ought to do some serious soul searching, starting with: where there they when Rihanna was trolled? Had that letter been penned in support of Rihanna indeed (a victim), instead of Amber Heard (a perpetrator) its positive impact would have rallied people from across the board.
But where does that leave us?
I am a man. Of course, then, this case has begged the question: how many more Johnny Depp are out there, being victim of domestic abuse at the hands of female partners, including post-separation abuse involving smear campaigns, gaslighting, DARVO, and all with the support of a gendered zeitgeist that has come to bury its head in the sand when it comes to the reality, let alone prevalence, of female perpetrators?
I am a man, yet, unlike many of the gendered organisations that now control the field, I don’t put my own gender (or any other of my protected characteristics) above all else to deny the reality that abuse is a human issue, not a gendered one. That the gendered view has come to hijack from the feminist movement to the campaigning field, and, even, the mass medias, could leave us wanting to despair. We shouldn’t.
We shouldn’t, because, if a tiny few can publish an open letter in support of abusive people, at grassroot level these individuals have no support. Comfortingly indeed, there are many women out there who have the same ethos and approach in not blaming gender for abuse. Those are the women who got angry at Amber Heard for doing a great disservice, by her lies, to real victims. Those are the women who rallied as much behind Johnny Depp as behind Rihanna. Those are the women, some of them campaigners themselves, who, like Janis James from Parental Alienation UK, rightfully reminded us, away from the great mediatic hoo-ha (I was about to type 'mediatic propaganda'...) that:
'We are being told this is a setback for female victims of abuse. I would argue this is a setback for those who use their gender to obtain reflexive support when it is underserving.'
Those are the women, in other words, who, while the open letter for Amber Heard struggled to reach a few hundred of signatures (including through fake supportive accounts on Instagram -and that says it all…) took it upon themselves to write their own, some having reached well above 5,500 supporters from all walks of life and in matter of days.
If you are tired of feminism turned misandry, if you are tired by the de-responsibilization (read: infantilisation) of women going hand in hand with the vilification of men, then, don’t despair: the gendered paradigm is about to shift, and it’s we, at grassroot level, that will send it crashing down. It won't be ideologues thrusted upon us as supposedly being ‘feminist icon’. It won't be the counter-productive and dogmatic organisations in charge, some having completely discredited themselves by now. It won't be those having no understanding nor knowledge about the recent history of feminism and its internal battles, and being, as a result, prone to be turned into the useful idiots of its most toxic demagogues (claiming otherwise to be its sole, pure, unquestioning representative). Needless to say, it certainly won't be our mass medias either, lazily or uncritically churning out whatever the establishment is feeding them that is, here, a tired gendered zeitgeist awaiting retirement, if not the grave.
Thank you reading, and, if you are interested in domestic violence and related issues, and/or think that you can help me for the book I am currently writing on the topic, please feel free to subscribe and/or to contact me…
Meanwhile: sapere aude!