Kamilla’s🧵 THREAD on why experts on domestic violence believe Amber Heard, what DARVO is, and how Johnny Depp was about to get away with it.
(By @k4mil1aa Kamilla)
Throughout this trial, Johnny Depp and his lawyers used a manipulation tactic that domestic violence experts refer to as DARVO. DARVO stands for “Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim & Offender.” DARVO in simple terms is when an abuser claims that they are the one who has been abused.
The phrase DARVO was coined in 1997 by sexual violence expert and psychologist Dr Freyd. Dr Freyd acknowledges Amber Heard as a victim of DARVO by Johnny Depp.
Abusers rely on acts of “reactive abuse” to frame their victims as perpetrators. This occurs when a victim “lashes out” toward their abuser. Abusers rely on reactive violence as proof that the victim is unstable, delusional, “just as bad”, or are the abuser themselves.
DARVO was used by Brian Laundrie after police received a 911 call which reported a physical altercation. Here you can see Brian using Gabby’s reactive violence to frame himself as the victim, and her as the abuser. He claimed that he was just trying to “calm down” Gabby Petito.
When Johnny Depp was confronted with an audio in which he admits to headbutting Amber Heard, he claims that he was just trying to “calm down” Amber as she had been acting unstable and hitting him.
For those curious, here’s the audio in which Johnny admits to headbutting Amber.
Here’s the video of cops speaking to Gabby while she was protecting Brian, and said that she started the violence. It’s very common for victims to protect their abusers, as they are typically in a trauma bond which makes it very hard to separate.
In this phone call, you can hear Johnny berating Amber for screaming “call the cops” to her friend on the phone while he heard Johnny beating Amber. Like many victims, Amber did not cooperate with the police. This has been used against her.
The cops who confronted Gabby and Brian noted on their report that Gabby couldn’t “stop crying, breathing heavily, or compose a sentence.” Brian was shown as a nice, stable guy that was seen bumping fists and laughing with the cops.
A juror from the Depp v Heard case came forward and said that Amber’s crying and facial expressions made them uncomfortable. He also said that in comparison, Depp seemed more calm and stable which made him more credible.
International media lawyer Mark Stephens said that Depp and his legal team ran with the DARVO strategy. “We find that DARVO works very well with juries but almost never works with judges, who are trained to look at evidence.”
This is why in the UK libel case, Johnny lost, and the judge found that there was enough evidence to prove 12 out of 14 alleged assaults against Amber Heard.
The juror that came forward also said that he believed Johnny and Amber to be “abusive to each other”. Domestic violence experts say “mutual abuse” is a myth, and that abuse is about power and control. Therefore, in an abusive relationship only one person can be the aggressor.
In an audio recording played in court, we can hear Johnny yelling at Amber and saying “don’t fucking pretend to be authoritative with me, you don’t exist.”
Johnny also sent texts about wanting to burn, rape, drown, and “smack around” Amber Heard before they even got married.
During Depp’s UK testimony, he said that Amber’s lectures were “inappropriate” because he is “twice her age”. This is him acknowledging that power imbalance.
Johnny Depp being an A list movie star with a net worth of over $200 million does not make him incapable of being abused, but it does mean he systemically has more power than his ex-wife Amber Heard. Here he is explaining to a friend how he wants to give her “global humiliation.”
This video was taken after the jury left the room, and after Amber gave her testimony on how Johnny raped her with a liquor bottle. I think it speaks for itself.
I know that to some people this may seem like “celebrity gossip”. But it’s not, this has real repercussions for survivors of both domestic violence and sexual assault. Just hours after the verdict, hundreds of survivors already pulled out of court cases and public statements.
This set a dangerous precedent for survivors. For example, Marilyn Manson (who also happens to be best friends with Johnny Depp, who he shares matching tattoos with) is now sueing his victim Evan Rachel Wood for defamation.
A common myth that this trial did a good job of continuing is that intimidating your partner by destroying property does not count as physical abuse. But it does, and it’s also a warning sign that the physical abuse will escalate.
In this video, you can see Johnny destroying the kitchen in efforts to intimidate Amber. It’s clear that this is intimidation when she asks him questions and he responds by smashing things.
It is very common for an abuser to destroy their victims things as a form of coercive control. Johnny destroyed Amber’s closet, and also vandalized paintings Amber owned that were painted by her ex.
After Johnny’s finger injury, he dipped his severed finger in paint and wrote these messages around the house. In these messages, he accuses Amber of cheating on him with her co-star Billy Bob Thornton “starring Billy Bob and easy Amber”.
Another common myth that has been perpetuated by both Johnny Depp’s team and social media is that survivors of rape seek always seek medical attention. This is blatantly untrue, especially in cases of spousal rape.
Out of injured rape victims, only 21% seek medical attention. And victims of spousal rape are significantly less likely to seek medical treatment after the assault.
Another dangerous narrative this trial has continued is that victims of abuse ALWAYS seek medical care. And that “real victims” have medical records proving their injuries. Only 34% of intimate partner violence victims received some type of medical care during their relationship.
During the UK trials, Amber asked for her testimony to remain confidential and the judge granted her request. In 2022, Johnny Depp specifically asked for a televised court room, humiliating her by making her testify about her rape to the world.
A lot of people may not know this, but it is actually notorious for abusers to keep stalking their victims through court cases. It’s often called “litigation abuse” or “vexatious litigation”. As detailed here.
As mentioned in this article about litigation abuse, “they’ll use every trick up their sleeve to make their victim look hysterical.” “It’s like, here’s the stage, I’m going to discredit you and make you look like an idiot.
Similar to Johnny, OJ also claimed that Nicole was the one that was hitting him. And that he had to restrain her and keep her calm. He also referred to himself as “the battered husband” in his infamous suicide note.
OJ Simpson testified that he never hit Nicole, but that she hit him several times. Johnny also claims that he never hit Amber, but that she attacked him several times.
“The burning red phenomenon” is the idea that women who have been abused need to “be covered with black-and-blue marks and be ferociously beaten”. Nicole’s family and friends never saw her bruises, as she covered them up with makeup. Much like Amber.
Honestly, I’m a little shocked that I have to explain this in the year 2022. But no, abuse victims do not want to go out in public with their bruises. Nor do they want to be seen by family and friends with bruises, this is often to protect their abusers or fear of judgement.
Another strikingly similar detail to the OJ Simpson case, is that like Johnny and his fans, OJ also claimed that Nicole came up with an elaborate years-long hoax to simply get money from him. “I gather her and her lawyers came up with that scheme.”
Domestic violence expert and consultant Julie Owens wrote a 27 page analysis of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s relationship after assessing the case, here are some key points she made that I think are important.
What is the perfect victim myth? In order for the majority of the public to believe someone is a credible victim of sexual violence or domestic violence – they must be weak, vulnerable, and have never done anything wrong in their lives. The “perfect victim” does not exist.
Nicole Brown Simpson was attacked for alleged affairs and promiscuity by tabloids after her murder. Very similar to how Johnny and his legal team accused Amber of cheating to make her seem like a less credible victim. (Pics from @pcd2009)
Here is clinical psychologist Dr Dawn Hughes testifying about how Johnny Depp was the aggressor in the relationship.
Dr Dawn Hughes also testified in the R Kelly trials as an expert witness on abusive relationships.
Dr Dawn Hughes testifies about the potential for the relationship to have become lethal. About halfway through this video you can see Depp making a gun motion when Dr Hughes mentions his threats to kill Amber.