Revelations from the Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard case seem to arise on a daily basis. The original narrative, stoked by Ms. Heard, focused on Mr. Depp being a serial abuser who would become intoxicated with drugs and alcohol and physically attack her. However, after the couple divorced in 2016 (and settled the dispute in 2017 with a $7 million resolution), the drama continued.

Washington Post Op-Ed

men domestic abuseMs. Heard wrote an op-ed piece for the Washington Post in 2018 where she spoke about the treatment of women in domestic abuse cases. In the op-ed, Heard wrote: “I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out.” The remainder of the article does not name Mr. Depp as her physical abuser, but the inference was clear given the recent divorce. Mr. Depp sued Heard for defamation because of the article.

Since those events, information has become available showcasing Ms. Heard as an abuser in the relationship as much as Mr. Depp—highlighted by a phone recording where Ms. Heard admits to hitting Mr. Depp. Until this point, public support was firmly in Ms. Heard’s corner, but once these recordings became public knowledge, in addition to the revelation that Mr. Depp’s severed fingertip was actually from Ms. Heard throwing a broken vodka bottle at him, sentiment changed.

This showcases the reality that men, even prominent, wealthy men, can be victims of domestic abuse. This does not absolve Mr. Depp of his harmful actions with Ms. Heard during their brief marriage, but it does bring to the forefront how the initial story might be manipulated to lend credibility to one party (Ms. Heard) over another (Mr. Depp).

Domestic Abuse, Regardless of the Victim, is Domestic Abuse

Our society does not view men as abusable, which is supported by Ms. Heard in a separate recording shown in the defamation trial where she states, “See what the jury and judge thinks…Tell the world, Johnny, tell them, I, Johnny Depp, a man, I’m a victim too of domestic violence.” This mentality permeates our society, damages the ability of men who have been domestically abused to come forward, shatters Ms. Heard’s credibility, and further highlights the dysfunctional relationship our society has with domestic abuse.

Domestic abuse, regardless of the victim, is domestic abuse. Women have been the victims for far longer than men have, but that does not mean men are immune or incapable or being abused.

Rebecca L. Palmer, Esq. is a Family & Marital Law attorney practicing in Orlando, FL. She is the Managing Partner of the Rebecca L. Palmer Law Group, and she can be reached at