Photo via GabboT / Flickr (CC-BY)
Comedian Doug Stanhope doesn’t understand that “person whom I’ve considered a friend” and “person who is an abuser” are not mutually exclusive categories.
In an op-ed for The Wrap, the comedian comes to the defense of Johnny Depp, who has been accused of spousal abuse by wife Amber Heard in court filings. Stanhope claims that he had seen Depp the day before the alleged abuse took place, and that he confessed Heard “was now going to leave him, threatening to lie about him publicly in any and every possible duplicitous way if he didn’t agree to her terms.” He calls Heard’s claims of abuse the equivalent of “blackmail.”
Heard claims that in an argument on May 21 Depp hit her with a cell phone, and submitted a photo of herself with a black eye as evidence. The LAPD did respond to a 911 call at the couple’s home that day, but found “no evidence of any crime,” and according to documents obtained by TMZ, Heard has not yet filed an official police report.
There are many reasons victims may not report abuse. A lengthy list from the National Domestic Violence hotline details why such claims may go unreported. Victims of abuse who speak out are often accused of lying for financial or personal gain and Amber Heard has certainly seen backlash in the days after the accusation. News organizations have even suggested that she may be faking it because she smiled.Nobody besides Heard and Depp know the whole truth of what happened between them. The willingness to believe that Heard is a liar and conspirator rather than believe that Depp is an abuser falls exactly in line with what frequently happens when a woman accuses a powerful man of abuse.
What if—stick with me—what if we believed victims were telling the truth until proven otherwise? Could we try that for a bit?