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Amber Heard pens powerful open letter about domestic violence: “I resented the label of victim”

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Kayleigh Dray
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Amber Heard has opened up about the “cold, hard truth” faced by victims of domestic violence everywhere in a powerful open letter.

Writing for Porter magazine’s December issue, she says: “You are not alone. You may have suffered alone behind closed doors, but you are not alone. You need to know that. 

“I want to remind you of your strength, a strength that has been multiplied by the number of women who stand silently behind you—a truth that allowed me to break down the doors I once found myself behind.”



Heard continues: “Let's start with the truth—the cold, hard truth. When a woman comes forward to speak out about injustice or her suffering, instead of aid, respect and support, she will be met with hostility, skepticism and shame.

“Her motives will be questioned and her truth ignored.”

Heard finished the letter by alluding to her own personal experience at the hands of an abusive partner.

“I was raised to be independent and self-reliant,” says the 30-year-old actor. “I was never given nor wanted the burden of dependency. 

“I never felt like anyone would or could rescue me, so naturally I resented the label of ‘victim’.’’

Heard’s conclusion was powerful; the actor states that victims of abuse should never feel afraid to come forward, or worry that they are to blame for their abuser’s actions, or that they are the only ones who have found themselves in this situation.

“As I write this today, I can promise every woman who is suffering in silence, you are not alone,” she says. “You may not see us, but we are there.”



Heard reached a settlement in her divorce from Johnny Depp just over three months ago; she had filed a domestic violence restraining order against the 53-year-old actor in May. 

According to court documents published in People, the Rum Diaries actor said she was physically abused by Depp on “two separate instances,” including one night when Depp gave her a black eye. 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. 

She was granted a temporary restraining order against the Fantastic Beasts star.

Amber Heard and Johnny Depp released a statement confirming their relationship had been "volatile"

Amber Heard and Johnny Depp released a statement confirming their relationship had been "volatile"

The two settled the case out of court, and, in a joint statement, said their relationship had been “volatile”, saying: “Our relationship was intensely passionate and at times volatile, but always bound by love.”

It also said there was no “intent” to cause physical harm.



Heard donated the financial settlement to the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and the American Civil Liberties Union – a move which would seem to go against previous claims from Depp’s lawyers, filed in court papers, that she was trying to “secure a premature financial resolution by alleging abuse”.


Visit womensaid.org.uk or call 0808-2000 247 for more information about coercive control, domestic abuse, and the help available for those affected.

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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