Why Do We Have Such A Hard Time Believing Domestic Violence Allegations?

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Amber Heard accuses Johnny Depp of domestic violence

Amber Heard has filed a domestic violence restraining order against Johnny Depp, People reports. The news comes just a few days after the actress filed for divorce.

A photo that Heard submitted as evidence shows bruising around her right eye. A source told People it was “not an isolated incident.”

There’s no other information. All we have is an accusation and a photo of Heard with bruises around her eye. That hasn’t stopped the internet from calling her a liar. If you’ve ever wondered why victims of domestic abuse don’t speak out, here are some reasons — in the form of random internet commenters, chomping at the bit to attack her character, rather than the person whose actually accused of violence.

These were some of the first comments on the first article that came up in a quick search. Why do we have such a hard time believing domestic violence accusations?

Just because we’ve loved Johnny Depp since 21 Jump Street — that doesn’t make these accusations not true. And with one in three women experiencing domestic abuse in her lifetime, the odds are more in favor of it being true than not. But that’s here nor there. This is merely the court of public opinion. The question is, in the court of public opinion, why is it Heard’s character that’s being questioned? Why the alleged victim, and not the alleged perpetrator?

Violence and sexual violence against women are really the only types of crime in which we look to a victim to make a case about their innocence. When someone steals a car, we don’t leave the onus on the person who owned the car to prove that they didn’t regularly leave it unlocked. We realize it’s a crime. When someone vandalizes a home, we don’t say, “Well, the grass wasn’t mowed. If the owners didn’t want a rock thrown through the window they should’ve taken better care of their property.”

Our absolute disbelief in women is why so many domestic abuse victims die. 72% of all murder-suicides involve an intimate partner; 94% of the victims of these murder suicides are female. They die, because they can’t get help. We fail them. Regularly. The jump to disbelief here, just because someone happens to be a beloved actor, is frankly — disgusting. And it sends a very loud message to the nearly 20 people per minute who are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. That equates to almost 10 million men and women in one year.

Every 9 seconds in the US, a woman is assaulted or beaten.

1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of [some form of] physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime.

It’s is a proven fact that the risk of domestic violence is highest at the time of separation.

It’s not unbelievable that people experience abuse. It’s unbelievable that we attack them for simply coming forward — and it’s why they don’t sooner.

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