Ruth Glenn, CEO of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, was “appalled” by the outcome of the trial and has “serious concerns” about victims’ ability to speak out
More than a week has passed since the verdict in the high-profile libel trial between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, but the debate around it is refusing to die. The jury ruled in favor of the 58-year-old actor after finding Heard’s statements defamatory and awarded him $10.4 million in damages.
Ruth Glenn, CEO of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, released a statement last week in support of the 36-year-old actress, saying the organization was “appalled” by the outcome of the trial and had “serious concerns” for the victims and the survivors’ ability to speak about their experiences.
“During testimony, including but not limited to Mr. Depp and Ms. Heard, we witnessed in real time one perpetrator engaged in gaslighting, a common technique used to manipulate others, particularly systems to falsely identify a victim as… Identify perpetrators and perpetrators for a victim. At the heart of domestic violence are power and control dynamics. Victims of domestic violence can be female, male or non-binary,” read the statement released by NCADV.
“When identifying an aggressor, it is important to focus on who holds the majority of power and control between the two partners. Abusers often use litigation and the courts to continue to abuse their victims after the relationship ends. As an organization, we seek to have faith in this nation’s systems, including its judges and juries, to recognize domestic violence and hold a perpetrator accountable. That was clearly not what happened in that courtroom,” he continues.
“The implications for the future of victims and survivors of domestic violence are overwhelming. When a victim sees the mocking memes and jokes online, there may be no point in reporting them if that’s what is expected of them. But the victims aren’t the only ones following the process closely; perpetrators are also watching. We’re already hearing anecdotal accounts of abusers threatening their victims — ‘If you talk to anyone about this, I’ll pull a dork on you,'” the statement adds.
Glenn tells TMZ that part of the backlash boils down to passionate comments, including saying NCADV doesn’t believe men can be abused, that real DV victims believe dorks, and even more shots at Heard, like people who they a Calling a liar or a “psycho.” She admits that despite the jury’s verdict, her organization believes Heard was the victim in the case. Glenn adds that the hatred for Amber and her supporters is unjustified, since not even Ray Rice was so publicly upset after his infamous domestic violence case.
She believes the #MeToo movement will not suffer a lasting setback, but people need to rethink what it means to believe all survivors. Glenn suspects this ruling could impact how victims of domestic violence come forward and talk about these issues. “I would ask the nation and your readers, would you think twice about coming forward after seeing what happened? I don’t think this will necessarily be the only thing that will stop someone from seeking support and safety, but I can tell you it just adds another layer,” Glenn told The Daily Beast.
One user wrote: “This is really sad. The process was just and fair. I am a survivor of DV and found the court system worked They actively reset DV victims. They’re part of this scaremongering.” Another said: “Amber literally said she hit Johnny and no one would believe him because he was a man. NCADV condones domestic violence as long as it is directed at a man.”
A third tweeted: “Your testimony sets abuse victims back years by standing by a convicted domestic abuser and denying that men are victims just as often as women.” A fourth added: “The verdict has not thrown back the cause of abuse survivors , but a woman who lied about it definitely did. She has made it where once again a woman cannot be believed. Ugh!” A fifth responded, “Your organization needs to step back and look at the facts.”