5 things I wish people knew about domestic abuse

Depp vs. Heard
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Watching the Depp vs. Heard trial play out was truly horrifying. Yes, we know misogyny is an issue in society and yes, we know that there are many misunderstandings about domestic abuse. But, no one could have guessed it would have gone so badly for Amber Heard. These are five things I wish people understood about domestic abuse before siding with Johnny Depp.

1. Perpetrators of domestic abuse are people we know and like

1 in 4 women are abused by a partner or family member, usually a man. Abusers are amongst us; they are people we know. They are not big, built, angry guys with shaved heads, scars, and tattoos: they’re just as likely to be good-looking, sweet-talking men in suits.

Most abusers are charmers – that’s how they get victims into a relationship with them in the first place. They use these very same manipulation tactics to fool everyone around them: friends, family, social workers, juries, and in the case of celebrities cases, apparently also millions of the public. Charm, good looks and a ‘nice guy’ persona are certainly advantages for an abuser – who would ever believe they are abusive behind closed doors?

2. Victims of domestic abuse fight back

Most victims of domestic abuse are not passive. Surviving in an abusive relationship takes strength and resilience; living in constant fear takes its toll. Victims often act out of fear or resentment; they may physically fight back, yell, or carry out small acts of revenge. This is known as resistive violence.

We would applaud a woman who hit an unknown man who attempted to rape her, but when it’s her partner, apparently fighting back makes you ‘just as bad’ as the abuser.

3. Claiming victimhood is a common perpetrator tactic

Abusers often use the courts to continue their power and control after separation. This is often when we see the abuser claiming to be the victim – the very common DARVO tactic. They Deny the abuse, Attack the person accusing them (often discrediting them by talking about their mental health), and then Reverse Victim and Offender, making themselves the victim.

Often, abusers will wind up their partner, pushing all the right buttons, to provoke them to react so that they can then use this as evidence to claim the victim is the abuser.

Read on...

4. Domestic abuse is about power and control

In domestic abuse, one person has power and control over the other. Often, the abuser has societal advantages over the other partner. This typically takes the form of a male partner having male privilege over a woman, but factors such as age and wealth can also be important, as with Johnny and Amber.

The domestic abuse perpetrator controls every part of a victim’s life using fear and intimidation. They will isolate their victim as much as possible, by cutting them off from friends and family, for example. They will also use emotional abuse and gaslighting to destroy their self-esteem and ability to see things clearly. Abusers are full of entitlement, and expect their partner to prioritise them and their needs over the victim’s own or anyone else’s. When we understand this, we can more easily see when someone’s actions are intended to control, or if they are just reactions to being abused.

5. Perpetrators are misogynists

Research into the beliefs and behaviours of male abusers has shown that more often than not, they have a strong belief in traditional gender norms. They believe that women should cook, clean, look after kids, be caring, and look after their man. They believe that men should be strong and in control, and that they should be providers. Often, it is when this expectation is challenged or goes unmet that they use abuse to get things back to how they want them.

Usually, abusers are sexist and see women as weaker and less important than men; they are misogynists. Any man that uses terms like “idiot cow”, “withering cunt”, “worthless hooker”, “slippery whore” or “waste of a cum guzzler” (Depp’s words) to describe women is clearly a misogynist.

The impact on survivors

It may seem that the Depp vs. Heard case is not worth worrying about; after all, they are high-profile celebrities many miles away. However, the level of attention the case has received, with social media rife with the bashing and ridiculing of Amber, there is no question that it will impact survivors here who have seen friends, family and colleagues back Johnny and claim that Amber is a liar.

Women have already been pulling out of cases due to the fear of going through what Amber did. Not only that, this case has also emboldened abusive men. We have already seen that alleged abuser Marilyn Manson has started his own defamation case against Evan Rachel Wood (Manson is also the godfather of Depp’s daughter, funnily enough).

It won’t just be famous men who have a renewed confidence in the fact that the system always sides with men, we’ll see this play out in courts across the country.

Featured image via screenshot/YouTube – Law&Crime Network

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  • Show Comments
    1. Given that no jury has found against Mr Depp on charges of domestic abuse, why is it appropriate to use his photograph and name in this piece? Perhaps the author does not trust juries to come to the ‘correct’ conclusion and believes that we need, instead, carceral feminist show trials in which the outcome has been pre-determined. This abolitionist does not see the solutions to domestic abuse lying in extending the UK’s already massive prison estate, a policy being enacted by the Tories and vehemently supported by former DPP Sir Keith Starmer (a man knighted for his service to the ruling class by imprisoning Julian Assange who was, if you recall, unjustly accused of sexual violence).

      1. The May 27 Guardian Weekly had an opinion piece seemingly unconditionally supporting Amber Heard as THE victim — and rather unreasonably, I might add — and it was then complimented, rather than countered, by yet another Amber-Heard-as-THE-victim opinion via a letter to the editor in the following issue. The mainstream news-media should, but apparently don’t, remain objective, especially on such sacred-cow social-issue topics as gender, and its relevant/related politics.

    2. I too agree with the above commenters for the simple reason that the author of this peice has single-handedly condemned every type of man there is, with not even the slightest mention of the VILE and abusive things that women also do to male victims, ruining and destroying literal lives for the ‘power’ that gives them over men (which if men then try to then defend themselves from, are instantly accused of, or equated with misoginism). Often the men most abused by women are usually not well built, not wearing tatoos, and perceived by these women (in a MIsandrist attitude) as being weak, not-a-man, boys, or ‘charmers’.

      Bullies pick on perceived weaker people – it has nothing to do with gender – and all genders are guilty of this type of behaviour towards others.

      The author’s words were particularly hurtful to me, as she practically described the hell I have been put through (8 years of it) as deserved – that somehow I – a male carer – who literally has saved the life of a cruelly abandonded woman, who would have died at the hands of a genuine misoginist, deserves the very real pain and theft of life that I have been subjected to – all without Judge or Jury or respite.

      Because of my gender, I ‘must’ deserve the vile and criminal things done to me, just because I was raised by my MOTHER to be polite, respectful of women, and not at all misoginistic (obviously I didn’t have a father around, so that must be my fault too) – actually, the very things the author claims are traits of abusers (who are not covered in muscles and tatoos), are the things my mother taught me to be.

      Clearly then, my mother must have been a man in duisguise, or she would never have taught me to be the thing that women apparently want – but in reality seem to abhorr.

      It really gets me that female cruelty and lies are suposed to be beleived and accepted, with anyone daring to question a woman’s account as being a Misoginist. It is the same cognitive dissconnect we see, as with Israel accusing anyone who cares about Palestinians as being Anti-semitic.

      The author points out that MEN can be charmers, opportunists, seeking whatever methods they can to have power over women, but fails utterly to recognise that in reality, women have their own illegal and immoral ways of hurting men too, and that much of that isn’t in response to something vile a man has done, but in response to not getting what they expected or demanded from men – It’s called Misandry.

      All genders do vile things to each other, and it is a complete delusion to think that women are never to blame for the abuse that results from their own abuses towards others, and going further, it is also delusional to think that women historically haven’t themselves helped to promote Misogeny with their own Misandry. One begets the other, and rather like trying to sort out who’s really responsible for the first wars in human history, that kind of thinking only guarantees more of the same futility.

      From personal bad experience – some women SAY they want a modern man, free of misoginistic practices and thoughts, and they want equality – then immediately go and choose men based on thier earning power, thier fighting prowess (soldiers), their ability to dominate others (with violence too), their shoes and dress, their muscle and ‘packet’ size, and on top of that, Men are supposed to “be a man!”, THE Man, whenever it suits these women.

      A man is not a ‘provider’, a ‘defender’, the ‘bread-winner’. His life isn’t expendable in the pursuit of a woman’s honour, or to be used as cannon-fodder in some fool’s personal war of greed and power. His muscles, dick and arse, are not objects to be used by women to build things for them, to kill for them, he is a living, breathing, feeling, human being, with desires, wants, needs, and bleeds when pricked, just like women – so why then do so many women use men, use their sex, to manipulate men into doing the very Misoginistic things they apparently hate? – Power – always power.

      Abuse can be caused by unrealistic expectations of others, and that is something we have all been societally programmed with.

      Equality is not about punishing today’s people for the sins of their ancestors, it is about treating each other with empathy, understanding, and love, but it seems there are a great number of people who seem to think that men should suffer all abuse without reaction if it comes from a woman – indeed even MEN generally seem to agree, looking for any opportunity to beat-up another male (regardless of guilt or innocence) on the hear-say of women looking to excersice their power.

      I talk as a man who has been abused by women all my life, by women who said they don’t want to be with Misoginists, but then go and have families with the exact stereotype they claimed to hate. These people, it seems to me, desire the abuse because it makes their case look so much stronger, and I am certain that most people have experienced being put in a position whereby they had to defend themselves, only to find out that they were led into it just so their reaction could be used against them.

      The above article is deeply flawed. Yes of course there are criminals who pretend to be something they are not, but to imply that all men who seem to be chancers, opportunists, charmers, gregarious, outgoing, knowledgeable, and honest must be abusers because you have decided that this type of behaviour is as easy as identifying a duck – wrong.

      Maybe you didn’t mean it the way I have read it, but I have to ask, where was the editor? If this is the continuing example of what you think good, unbiased journalism is, then I am sorry to say that The Canary has had it’s day, and is now progressing into violent wokism, rather than the real issues which face us (and yes I do consider this article to be ill-considered, violent wokism).

      By all means warn others that crooks of all sorts pretend to be nice, outgoing, confident people, but don’t tar everyone with the same brush, and bear this in mind – When confidence tricksters and crooks of all sorts do these things, they make it impossibly hard for genuine people to be the genuine people they are, they get punished because crooks imitated their behaviour, and in your painful wisdom, you’ve decided that the crooks are worth dating, and the ‘nice’ guys are prospective abusers.

      Clearly the author – in spite of 20 years ‘helping’ victims of abuse, knows better than ALL the people involved in these cases, particularly the judiciary, and so we are essentially invited to ignore the legal results because, well … Johnny Depp is a Male, and is just supposed to take literally whatever abuse is thrown his way (according to chauvanist women that is).

      The reason that there are so many men charged with these things compared to women is due to the misoginistic traits in Society itself. Men are forced by misandrist females, and societal peer pressure to adopt it, and importantly, this behaviour is a self-enforcing thing, but also enforced by women at the grass-roots level – in the home.

      However, the point I am making is that we are ALL of us guilty of perpetuating these things without neccecarily being criminals or having prior-criminal intent, and the solution is not writing generalised articles targetting men in an inflamatorily ignorant peice of journalism.

      Sorry – but this should never have gone to print in the form it did.

      If you are not a bona-fide man-hater, then you did yourself, and The Canary a true disservice with this article. I get that you have seen a lot of abuse, I even get that you’ve probably seen mainly, if not wholly, abused women, being that the reality is that there are more men convicted of these crimes than women (unfairly in my opinion – as I know a great many women get away with thier criminality towards men, and manipulate men towards these very issues for their own gratification).

      Misogny and Misandry are vile traits, but are also a side-effect of our ancestry and rapid societal growth. As a species we literally have not had enough time to adapt to the changes we have ourselves made to society.

      I really wish that all people commenting on these things would remeber one VERY important point – Men didn’t create Women, Women didn’t create Men – and so criticising each other in the way we have done, and still do, is like blaming each other for a perceived broken product (which we are not either). None of us are born wanting to harm others – that shit is programmed after.

      We need reminding that we didn’t make up the rules of living with each other – nature (or depending on viewpoint) God did. We are the poor sods that have to work out what is going on, who’s lying to whom, and we are the ones mostly wrestling with things we would NEVER have intentionally or willingly programmed into ourselves if we had options in our own creation.

      I didn’t write this response to champion anything other than better relationships. I don’t want to get drawn into pointless debates about who’s better than whom, or end up hating the very people nature clearly programmed me to love.

      The author talks about power, and how some men abuse it (though ‘some men’ is not at all stressed in the article) – in doing so she’s literally encouraging others to hold the same viewpoint, which is to say – don’t trust any men.

      That seems to be the main drive of this article – that all men are abusers, and as such is just adding to the deepening divide that has been deliberately introduced into our lives, for the purpose of driving us away from each other.

      At best, this article tells people not to trust men, particularly those who come across as nice. That is also the WORST part of this article, because you’re just helping to ensure that less and less people will pursue decency, kindness, thoughtfullness, empathy, honesty, real love (not lust), in fact ANY decent human trait, out of fear. You are also basically advising women to never trust a man, and implying we are all abusers.

      I’m certain though, that the ‘winners’ in all this, will be the very violent and corrupt people you intended to advise women against, but that’s because nature decides who you have partnerships with, we only think we have choice – at least that is how people’s behaviour in relation to this have proven to me over 55 years. None of us have quite the control we think we do when it comes to relationships, which is why all of us experience head-scratching, heart-breaking fuck-ups in our lives – damned pheromones! damned instinct, and damned false sense of control we think we have.

    3. What a pile of (to be expected from a typical lefty, man hating bird) shite! It’s the likes of you that sets women’s rights back. As the other comments note (well done for not falling for the Milly Tant agenda, folks) Depp was found innocent by a jury. End of.

    4. Misandrists and Misogynists are both equally ugly specimens of our species!
      It would improve humanity if we dealt with each other at the Human level, before we add the labels of gender, race, religion, politics etc, etc!
      Respect every Human as your absolute equal, regardless of their age, gender, wealth, education, etc, etc.

    5. Plz remove this article ……..

      Reason enough has been given for removal , there’s a difference between standing by your work and leaving the piece up and spreading what appears to be bigoted views…….

      One gender may have more cases against them but both genders are victims in mental and physical abuse , one is also drastically under reported cause of social so called norms , but I’m sure intentionally ( well I hope ) sound so very one sided !!!!!!!

    6. In the case of men’s mental health in general, author and psychologist/psychotherapist Tom Falkenstein writes that:
      “While it is true that a higher percentage of women than men will be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder or a depressive episode, the suicide rate among men is much higher. In the United States, the suicide rate is notably higher in men than in women. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men account for 77 percent of the forty-five thousand people who kill themselves every year in the United States.

      “In fact, men commit suicide more than women everywhere in the world. Men are more likely to suffer from addiction, and when men discuss depressive symptoms with their doctor, they are less likely than women to be diagnosed with depression and consequently don’t receive adequate therapeutic and pharmacological treatment. …

      “This is backed up by numerous psychological studies over the last forty years that tell us that, despite huge social change, the stereotypical image of the ‘strong man’ is still firmly with us at all ages, in all ethnic groups, and among all socio-economic backgrounds. In the face of problems, men tend not to seek out emotional or professional help from other people. They use, more often than women, alcohol or drugs to numb unpleasant feelings and, in crises, tend to try to deal with things on their own, instead of searching out closeness or help from others. …”

      As for Johnny Depp, he likely was the strong/silent guy for a long time, until Heard and self-medicating. … There stubbornly remains an outdated general societal mentality, albeit perhaps subconsciously held: Men can take care of themselves, and boys are basically little men. It’s the mentality that might help explain why the book Childhood Disrupted was only able to include one man among its six interviewed adult subjects, there being such a small pool of ACE-traumatized men willing to formally tell his own story of childhood abuse.

      It’s a continuing subtle societal take-it-like-a-man mindset; and one in which so many men, even with anonymity, would prefer not to ‘complain’ to some stranger/author about his torturous childhood, as that is what ‘real men’ do. [I tried multiple times contacting the book’s author via internet websites in regards to this non-addressed florescent elephant in the room, but I received no response.]

    7. People who have not experienced or witnessed any type of domestic abuse will not understand what it is like for the survivor or the perpetrator. Education is so important, this is not about gender, seeing comments asking what about men, yes men are survivors of abuse but statistically more women are affected by abuse hence the focus is on women. Maybe stop being offended and start learning the signs of abuse, these can be so subtle. This opinion piece is needed and rightly highlights some key points. I’ve worked with many women and some men who have experienced domestic abuse and in the case of Mr Depp he displayed some telling signs of perpetrating abuse and I only watched a short clip of the court case. Yes Ms Heard also played a role in this toxic relationship because she did not lie down and take it, she fought back, most women don’t. I find it interesting that when a women uses an article to challenge a man she is deemed a man hater.

      1. There’s Challenging … then there’s flat out biased bigotry. Also, opinion peices aren’t news, and belong in the fetid realms of so-called social networking platforms.

        There is a way to challenge PEOPLE, without insulting vast swathes of the world’s populas in the process. It is the author of this fetid peice of ‘journalism'(?) that used terms like misogyny, and panders to the misandry that is, in my opinion, rife in the world.

        No abuse of ANYONE is acceptible under ANY circumstances. Violence towards others has NOTHING to do with gender, and everything to do with POWER. Gender is just a bystander that got dragged into peoples’ power-plays, and is used by ignorant people to promote their own individualistic viewpoint above others.

        This article would have done soooo much better if it actually delivered 5 things that helped everyone to understand domestic abuse, but instead this was a bigoted opinion-piece, using a misleading title. In my opinion, this article is deeply flawed, and does not belong on The Canary, and is way more suited to Twitter or Meta, although even there, it would do nothing except stoke division, hatred, eco-chambers, and more violence.

        If The Canary beleives in this bigotted crap, then The Canary is heading towards cutting-off it’s own legitimacy. There’s news, then there’s stoking hatred and division. The Canary is capable of MUCH better than this, other contributors prove that.

        One last point – this article really should be titled – ‘Man always bad, Women never lie’ because that is the drive behind a great number of these mileadingly titled male attack pieces.

        Also, I find it interesting that when a woman uses an article to hate on men directly, or in ‘code’, anyone ‘challenging’ the narrative offered is attacked, regardless of gender, but if gender is suspected, then it too is used to further the aims of the original attack peice.

        The article above talks about domestic abuse (poorly), but it is clearly only about the abuse some females suffer at the hands of some males. I was subjected to violent physical abuse with criminal damage amounting to thousands of pounds, from which I have never got justice, or been able to recoup my loses not just financially, but to my own self-worth – why? Because I, a weak, pathetic little man, said ‘no’ to sex with a deranged woman. Things were getting interesting, then I decided, no, this is a mistake, this is not for me, and so when I said I didn’t want to go further and she should leave, I was subjected to literally hours of abuse (actually the whole damned street was), which ended up requiring the police to attend.

        Did I hit her? No!, Did I pre-abuse her? – No!, Was she my girfriend? – No! this was a first date situation!!, Did I subject her to physical and verbal violence after she tried to stab me with scissors? – No!, Did I subject her to any form of violence or abuse when she smashed up my motorcycle? – No!, Did I witness her repeatedly bang her own head against a wall to try and make it look I had done it – Yes! Yes I fucking well did!!! … so did an off-duty police officer, who later commended me for my physical and verbal restraint. In fact, it is fair to say, that I have been subjected to female violence, both physical and verbal, ALL my life, from mother through to this very day, and not ONE female involved has ever faced even the remotest for of justice for their vile behaviour and actions.

        Do you know what is worse? Most it seems to me, would immediately assume that I must have deserved it, that it MUST have been some form of misogyny on MY part that caused this behaviour from them, they MUST have been defending themselves – well, do you know what? I got treated that way, and still am treated that way because of what SOME vile women have done to me.

        It is still very much expected that men just take any and all abuse from women without complaint, and this is patently wrong. However, I do NOT hate women, but I am very, very aware of ALL the misandrist tricks that women generally use to get what they want, just as I am very, very aware of the vile things misogynists do to.

        I am not even allowed (in polite society that is) to get justice for the criminality I was forced to endure, even to this very date.

        It is my beleif and contention, that actually, females are just as guilty of abuse as males, and the reason that more men go down for this kind of behaviour than women, is simply that this so-called ‘patriarchal’ society ignores (in favour of women) what women tend to do to get what they want. That doesn’t mean ALL women do this, but it is as deeply ingrained in our societies as men being required to act as men, and die for the love of women is.

        Men are expected to be tough, emotionless (when suited), workhorse-warriors, without complaint – and it really is that part which is enforced by women in a societal, programmed sense. This so called Patriarchy is nothing but a joint construction of gender assigned roles, with all the problems forcing square pegs into round holes presents.

        From my perspective – this is a Matriachal and Patriarchal society with all genders being forced to adopt roles assigned by nature and humans, which don’t neccessarily take into account our own individual needs and personal foibles.

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