Amber Heard pens powerful essay on sexual violence

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Emily Reynolds
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Amber Heard at the Aquaman premiere

“Women’s rage and determination to end sexual violence are turning into a political force.”

Actress Amber Heard has revealed how she lost work after accusing ex-husband Johnny Depp of abuse.

In a powerful essay written for the Washington Post, Heard described how she “faced our culture’s wrath” after speaking up, even being told her career would be over.

“Friends and advisers told me I would never again work as an actress — that I would be blacklisted,” Heard writes. “A movie I was attached to recast my role. I had just shot a two-year campaign as the face of a global fashion brand, and the company dropped me. Questions arose as to whether I would be able to keep my role of Mera in the movies Justice League and Aquaman.”

“I had the rare vantage point of seeing, in real time, how institutions protect men accused of abuse.”

Heard donated proceeds from her divorce from Depp  to charity after accusing him of abusing her throughout their marriage. The pair married in 2015 and separated in May of the next year after Heard requested a restraining order against the actor. She also stated that he had been violent towards her, providing photos of herself with a black eye. 

And after the accusations came out, Heard says, she received “weekly” death threats and harassment from the media – despite being the victim, not perpetrator, of abuse. 

“For months, I rarely left my apartment, and when I did, I was pursued by camera drones and photographers on foot, on motorcycles and in cars,” she says. “Tabloid outlets that posted pictures of me spun them in a negative light. I felt as though I was on trial in the court of public opinion — and my life and livelihood depended on myriad judgments far beyond my control.”

We are in a “transformative political movement”, Heard believes – accusations against Trump and the wider #MeToo movement has meant that “women’s rage and determination to end sexual violence” has turned into a political force. 

She believes that the US Congress should strengthen its 1994 Violence Against Women Act, legislation that supports those victimised by abusers and that funds rape crisis centres and legal assistance programs amongst other services. It also improves responses by law enforcement and “prohibits discrimination against LGBTQ survivors”. Heard points out that funding for the act expired in September.

“I want to ensure that women who come forward to talk about violence receive more support,” Heard concludes. “We are electing representatives who know how deeply we care about these issues. We can work together to demand changes to laws and rules and social norms — and to right the imbalances that have shaped our lives.”

Images: Getty