Amber Heard has called on domestic abuse survivors to “speak up” in an emotional new video, saying: “We together as women standing shoulder to shoulder, cannot and will not any longer accept silence.”
Heard, 30, appeared in the clip to raise awareness of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on Friday 25 November. In it, she went through the thoughts and emotions experienced by many victims of domestic abuse.
“How is this happening to me, you know? I’m strong, I’m smart; I’m not a victim,” said The Danish Girl actress.
She added that she held these beliefs “to my detriment”, adding: “I guess there is a lot of shame attached to that label of ‘victim’.”
The two-minute video was produced by the #GirlGaze project, an online video series curated by women including Heard’s friend Amanda de Cadanet and 50 Shades of Grey director Sam Taylor-Johnson. Speaking to de Cadanet, Heard explained why she believes some women struggle to leave their abusive partners.
“It happens to so many women, you know,” she said. “[But] when it happens in your home behind closed doors with someone you love, it’s not as straightforward as if a stranger did this. It was pointed out to me that if a stranger did this, [leaving] would be a no-brainer.”
Heard reached a settlement in her divorce from Johnny Depp a little over three months ago, after filing for divorce and a domestic violence restraining order against the 53-year-old actor in May. She alleged that the 53-year-old actor had been verbally and physically abusive towards her for the duration of their four-year relationship.
To support her claim that Depp had been violent towards her, Heard provided police with statements from two women – her and Depp’s mutual friend iO Tillett Wright, and their neighbour Raquel Pennington. And in the new video, the actress said that talking to trusted friends about her experience of abuse was how she began to set herself free.
“Telling someone safe is the beginning of choosing yourself,” she said. “If I hadn’t had that, if I hadn’t had a few people that I really trust, a few women, support, a few friends, if I hadn’t had them around me, how different my life would be.”
She went on to say that she was determined to use her celebrity profile for good.
“As a woman having gone through this on a public stage… I have a unique opportunity to remind other women not only that this doesn’t have to be the way it is, [but] you don’t have to do it alone, you’re not alone and also we can change this,” she said.
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And Heard stressed that abuse is not only related to physical violence.
“It is also about how we deal with it and how we talk about it in the media and in our culture,” she said, adding: “We need to take responsibility for how we talk about these things.
“It’s the only way that people are going to feel comfortable in coming forward, raising their voices and standing up for themselves, is if we change the system in place that keeps them quiet.
“Speak up. Speak up. Raise your voice,” she implored domestic violence survivors. “Your voice is the most powerful thing.”