Johnny Depp’s defamation trial against ex-wife Amber Heard is well underway and it’s been informative, to say the least.
Johnny was the first to take the stand last week and used the opportunity to paint Amber as a mutual aggressor, claiming that she abused him just as much as he did her.
His evidence included a voice recording of Amber in which she admits to hitting Johnny.
LISTEN: The audio recordings of #JohnnyDepp and #AmberHeard were played for the jury on Wednesday, where Heard says “I was hitting you, it was not punching you,” and called Depp a baby. @LawCrimeNetwork pic.twitter.com/rXiZAp8EVR
— Law&Crime Network (@LawCrimeNetwork) April 20, 2022
His lawyers are pushing the narrative of “mutual abuse”, a term used by their expert witness aka the exes’ former marriage therapist. Their therapist claims that both Johnny and Amber abused each other equally and neither was the primary aggressor.
According to Laurel Anderson, the therapist in question, Amber “gave as good as she got”.
However, under cross-examination, Laurel admitted that Amber only claimed to “fight back” in self-defense, which is supported by Amber’s court filings in which Amber claims she only ever physically assaulted Johnny in self-defense or in defense of her sister.
On 3/23/15, Depp allegedly hits Heard repeatedly. His security arrives but does not intervene. Heard’s sister is standing by a flight of stairs and Depp makes a pushing motion, resulting in Heard punching him w/ a closed fist. She says it was self defense. pic.twitter.com/2mEPKjflRK
— van (der woodsen) (@drugproblem) April 21, 2022
Now, several experts are speaking out against the idea of “mutual abuse”, which many readily call a myth.
Numerous experts claimed that mutual abuse in intimate partner violence is impossible as abuse is based on an imbalanced power dynamic. In other words, there is always a primary abuser.
The CEO of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), Ruth Glenn, told NBC News,
“I don’t believe in mutual abuse. I don’t believe that two parties decide to meet in the kitchen and box it out. It just doesn’t sound right, reactive abuse. I’m going to abuse you as a reaction? No, I’m going to defend myself as a reaction.”
She went on to explain that what can look like “abuse” perpetrated by the victim is often, in actuality, self-defense.
According to an article written by Dr. Betsy Usher, a psychotherapist specializing in abuse and trauma,
“Abuse is about power and control. In an abusive relationship, only one person has power and control. Both people can’t have equal power and control; someone holds it and craves it. The person who has power and control manipulates the victim into 1), getting pushed to their limit so they react back, and 2), believing they are also an abuser (blame-shifting).”
A blog post on the National Domestic Violence Hotline’s website reiterates this sentiment and explains that the idea of “mutual abuse” is often perpetuated by the abuser as a way to manipulate and victim-blame.
Obviously, it is impossible to know what goes on between two people behind closed doors, but based on what we know so far, it sounds like Johnny was the primary abuser.
Amber has asserted that any time she fought back was in defense of herself or her sister.
Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s trial is expected to take a total of five weeks. Amber is expected to take the stand next to tell her side of the story.