What a sad week it has been in the news; a week when the adage that there are two sides to every story has never rung more true.
There’s not a lot I can add to the extensive debate surrounding the Depp/Heard story, but when I began this post, soon after the news first hit the press, the reaction of the haters who had come out to bag the victim – that is THE VICTIM – forced me onto my soapbox.
If anyone ever questioned why women hold back from reporting domestic violence, this case has confirmed the answer. It’s fear and vilification. For in the days since it was first reported, we know every reason why Heard decided to make up a story about Johnny beating her up (money), we know about every dollar that she doesn’t earn (motive) and every manipulative reason she might have for humiliating him. While, he has kept schtum – a tactic I assume he has been advised by his lawyers to take, to appear less vitriolic than his crazy, lying wife, I imagine.
Or simply to make it go away.
The point is, only Depp and Heard know what really happened behind the doors of their mansion, and the rest remains speculation unless it goes to court; which is unlikely due to the power and influence of the accused.
But whether you have a personal opinion about Amber Heard or not, it takes a brave women to take on an icon such as Johnny Depp, a golden boy of Hollywood, who apart from trashing a few hotel rooms and making some dodgy films, has rarely put a foot wrong in the media. Who would dare defame a cinematic legend who has played the protagonist in many memorable and much-loved children’s movies such as Charlie and The Chocolate Factory and Pirates of the Caribbean, and who is such is a role model to kids, as well as being a supporter of sick children.
The same man who held a special place in our nineties teen hearts, until Kate Moss unceremoniously snatched him away from our dreams. Which was okay, because she was boxing at her own weight. Kinda.
But sadly, such misplaced idolisation is why men like Jimmy Saville, Rolf Harris and Bill Cosby all got away with their sordid little crimes for so long, because they held power and influence in their respective industries and had the dollars to shut any salaciousness down.
And that can’t be right.
I’m always prepared to look at a story non-judgmentally if there are no proven facts. I don’t know if Depp abused Heard, and if he did I would never excuse any violent act against a woman, but we are human and it wouldn’t exactly be unheard of for a big star, possibly under the influence and excesses of drink and drugs, to lose it one day and make a terrible mistake. How many of us creative, drama queen types haven’t lost physical control in the heat of the moment, when we’re fighting to save the last smouldering vestiges of a relationship?
I remember throwing a plate of baked beans over the old man once.
And women like Amber make easy targets for the press – pretty, successful, younger than Depp – attributes that the public fawn over until they overstep their mark, when they’re quickly hunted down and redefined as immature, sugar-daddy-loving, gold diggers.
How could her claims possibly be credible?
And talking of impulsive young people …and we all know what three year old boys are capable of and how easily it is to lose sight of them for that few precious seconds. Because it happened to me once in a busy mall with NC and then again when both the old man and I were with her at a garden centre, until ‘whoosh’ she wasn’t suddenly, because she’d fallen into a freezing cold lake. And frankly those seconds of frenzied fear were some of the most awful seconds of my life as a parent so I can’t begin to imagine what the parents of that little boy felt as they watched him confronted by a gorilla.
A fucking gorilla! Which is the stuff of nightmares or movies.
And I agree that it was terribly sad that the decision had to be made – quickly, because no-one knows exactly how a potentially dangerous four-hundred pound animal is going to react in a stressful situation – to kill the ape in order to save the child. TO SAVE THE CHILD!
And the gorilla will be mourned, deservedly so.
But should the parents really be vilified for taking their eyes off their child? Were the boys parents wrong to assume that zoo enclosures should be safe from the natural curiosity of a child?
And albeit a terrible outcome and a horrible loss, if it happened again, that animal would be taken out, again. And this public, crazy outcry leads me to suspect that we are grieving less for the unfortunate gorilla whose own curiosity got the better of him and more for the underlying shame of what we do in zoos.
We all make mistakes because we’re human and we’ve all had those parenting fails where we’ve said a hasty ‘thank fuck’ prayer afterwards when we were lucky, got away with it and something awful didn’t eventuate. Those parents were lucky that their boy was saved and should not be shamed for the death of Harambe. Neither should the McCanns, although they’ve paid more heavily for their decision.
What right do we have to judge or throw stones? By definition, a ‘victim’ is someone who has been ‘harmed, injured, or killed as a result of a crime, accident, or other event or action’.
In other words, they’ve suffered enough.