Amber Heard has been in the news frequently in the past year, but unfortunately, she rarely controlled the messaging. News outlets followed her to the courthouse as she filed for divorce, published photos of her bruised face after an alleged altercation with husband Johnny Depp, and spectators were quick to question whether Heard had been emotionally and physically abused, or whether she was looking for a quick divorce and a hefty divorce settlement. As everyone, from talk show hosts to internet trolls, picked apart Heard’s actions from the outside, she gave few statements. The only one that comes to mind is when her team released a statement, sharing that Heard would be donating her full divorce settlement to the ACLU and the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. Still, Heard denied to be interviewed or release a personal statement regarding her abusive marriage, until now.
In a video titled “Amber Heard Speaks Up” by the GirlGaze project, Heard shares her experience with being hurt by someone she loves, and accepting that she is, in fact, a survivor. GirlGaze, an organization that aims to support women behind the camera, shared the video on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Towards Women. In the 2-minute video, Heard breaks down the stigma and shame attached to the label of “victim” and how it can take time to process when you are being hurt by someone you love. She reminds women watching that they are not alone, and encourages the viewers to keep pushing and fighting for a shift in culture and creating a safer environment for women that need help.
Read the transcript and watch the video below, and check out more empowering work by GirlGaze here.
"How is this happening to me? I'm strong, smart, I'm not a victim. It was my detriment. I guess there was a lot of shame attached to that, the label of 'victim'. It happens to so many women you know. When it happens in your home behind closed doors with someone you love, it's not straightforward. If a stranger did , as it was pointed out to me, this it would be a no-brainer. IfI hadn’t had those few people that I really trust around me, the women, the friends, how different my life would be.
As a women having gone through this in the public stage, in the public arena that I did it in, I have a unique opportunity to remind other women that this doesn't have to be the way it is. You don't have to do it alone. You're not alone, and we can change this. Violence against women is not limited to actual physical violence, it’s also about how we deal with it and how we talk about it in the media. We need to take responsibility for how we talk about these things.
The only way people are going to feel comfortable coming forward, raising their voices and standing up for themselves, is if we change the system in place that keeps them quiet. Speak up, speak up. Raise your voice, your voice is the most powerful thing and we, together, as women standing shoulder to shoulder cannot and will not any longer accept silence."