You can’t go online or on social media these days without reading something new about the defamation case between Amber Heard and Johnny Depp. People are seemingly reveling in Heard’s slow demise. Regardless of your opinion on the case, one thing can’t be denied: Why are people taking so much pleasure in attacking Amber Heard?

Why Are People Enjoying Attacking Amber Heard So Much?

The story of Amber Heard and her apparent fake domestic abuse allegations against beloved Pirates of The Caribbean star Johnny Depp have caught like wildfire. People are seemingly reveling in the fact that her allegations appear increasingly false every day. It has highlighted how much the public love “the reverse card” of this type of story. Anti-white racist accusations, woman-to-man abuse, false rape accusations, and the like. These kinds of stories hardly ever strike the same amount of passion, or I daresay joy, in their traditional format, despite the number of times they happen. (1)

Initial Support Changed To Absolute Hatred

When Amber Heard first came out with her allegations, there was initial support from the public. The support she received, however, pales in comparison to the hate she has received since the accusations have been called false. People are seemingly taking real, genuine pleasure in tearing apart the actress online.

On online forums, actual serious discussions about the case often quickly degrade into thousands of people simply commenting “f**k Amber Heard”. People have stooped to using misogynistic profanity and highly sexist commentary to describe her. (2, 3) Prominent podcasters such as Joe Rogan have dubbed her “a crazy actress” and pass judgments on a person and trial that is not yet finished. Articles are pouring in on the story and everything Amber Heard has ever done wrong. (4)

Why Is This A Problem?

Your opinion of the actress and whether or not she is guilty, in the wrong, or however you want to phrase it is not what is important at this moment. What is more shocking, at least for myself, is how quick the public began to rip her apart the minute a possible domestic abuse case was false. The way you see people speaking about Amber Heard online you rarely see when the case is the other way around.

Have there been online forums built dedicated to pouring out hatred on any man who has ever raped or abused a woman? Has the news cycle ever been so dedicated to a man who has done the crimes that Heard originally accused Depp of doing?

We have seen this before in (the very few) circumstances when a black person falsely accused a white person of racism or racially-driven abuse. It’s almost as though these people are excited that they can finally clap back with a “well, it happens the other way around sometimes, too” and cite these specific cases. It doesn’t matter that there are thousands of white on black/hispanic/asian/other minorities every single year. It doesn’t matter that the number of women raped or sexually assaulted by a man in the United States is in the hundreds of thousands every single year. (5)

What Does This Say About Domestic Abuse and Violence Against Women?

This tidal wave of hate towards Amber Heard is troubling in what repercussions it might mean for other women who do experience violence against women. Not every comment made against Heard online is subtly saying that women lie about the abuse that they experience. Enough of them do, however, that can potentially harm progress we’ve made in this category.

Most women experience some kind of sexual harassment in their lifetime. Often, their first experience with this is when they are very young. Personally, I remember my first experiences with inappropriate comments or behaviors from men happening before I was even 10 years old.

For women who do experience sexual assault and/rape, speaking out about their experience can be difficult and terrifying. For every person cheering on the tirade of hate towards Amber Heard right now, there is a woman now more scared than ever to come out about her experience. A woman who is now afraid that she will be ripped apart and told that she is probably lying just because some celebrity actress who may have some mental health issues did.

Essentially, before you go on saying terrible things about Amber Heard to your friends or on an online forum, think about what impact your words might have. Chances are Heard will never read your comments or hear your words. But another woman who actually has been abused or is in a dangerous situation might.

 

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