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Amber Heard pens op-ed about her experience of domestic abuse

Amber Heard was currently promoting Aquaman around the world. As of now, the movie based on the DC comic has officially grossed $300 million at the worldwide box office.

While the film is having major box-office success, there was, however, serious uncertainty over whether Heard would continue to be attached to the movie after the actress was threatened to be blacklisted from Hollywood after accusing her then-husband Johnny Depp of domestic violence.

In an op-ed for The Washington PostAmber Heard laid bare the implications survivors of violence face and experience after choosing to speak out against their abusers.

Though the actress did not mention Depp by name in her essay, she alluded to the time period of the pair’s marriage, stating,

“Two years ago, I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out.”

Heard described in her essay how friends and advisers warned her that by speaking out against Depp, she would be ostracised from Hollywood and never work again.

Indeed, in the immediate aftermath of coming forward, Heard’s role in a movie that she was attached to star in, was recast.

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PORTER | EDIT …one of my favorites

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The 32-year-old also shared how despite shooting a 2-year long campaign as the face of a global fashion brand, the company dropped her after she publicly made allegations of abuse against Depp.

The effects of the allegations made against her former husband translated deeply into Heard’s personal daily life. She recounted in the essay how she received countless death threats — forcing the actress to change her phone number weekly. She described in the essay,

“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. 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.”

In describing her reasoning for writing the op-ed, Heard wrote,

“I want to ensure that women who come forward to talk about violence receive more support. We can work together to demand changes to laws and rules and social norms — and to right the imbalances that have shaped our lives.

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Behind the scenes caught by @hairbyadir and @melaniemakeup

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In her essay, Heard encouraged Congress to strengthen the Violence Against Women Act.

She also criticized the changes to Title IX proposed by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, which would limit the definitions of sexual assault in ways that favor the alleged abuser more than the victim. The actress advocated the need to continue to elect representatives who care about these issues and protect survivors, not the abusers.

In describing her experience, Heard powerfully employed the metaphor of the Titanic in explaining Hollywood as a patriarchal power structure.

Heard underlined how the incentive to defend powerful men is not circumscribed to saving and protecting a singular reputation but rather is constitutive of a larger effort to secure the livelihoods of the people that are attached to him and the money that comes with a star’s persona. Heard noted,

“Imagine a powerful man as a ship, like the Titanic. That ship is a huge enterprise. When it strikes an iceberg, there are a lot of people on board desperate to patch up holes — not because they believe in or even care about the ship, but because their own fates depend on the enterprise.”

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Aquaman waves still rollin in….

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Though Heard’s experience is sadly not isolated, as the actress declared in the essay,

“We are in a transformative political moment… Women’s rage and determination to end sexual violence are turning into a political force. We have an opening now to bolster and build institutions protective of women.”

In the wake of the #MeToo movement and in particular, the disturbing allegations of sexual assault by Hollywood mogul, Harvey Weinstein, more people than ever are opening up about their experiences of sexual harassment, abuse, as well as the culture that is invested in protecting abusers rather than survivors.

The emergence of #MeToo and the TIMES UP campaign is definitely something to be optimistic about and as more and more people like Heard come forward about their experience and feel as though they are not alone and receive the support and validation that is so crucially needed, we can certainly hope for more systemic change to occur.