The Depp-Heard case places a spotlight on relationships and intimate partner violence

Former couple Johnny Depp and Amber Heard are embroiled in a legal battle over public statements about their relationship. Although this is not a criminal proceeding, violence is an intimate partner of a key figure in this process.

Depp is suing Hurd over an article he wrote in the Washington Post accusing him of defamation.

Depp and Hurd argue about the popularity of the actor and the defendant not only before the judge but also in court.

“None of us have been actively schooled on the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships,” Katie Hood, executive director of the One Love Foundation, told All Things Considered on April 24. “And One Love tries to create great educational content.”

Hood educates young people about healthy and unhealthy relationships. Domestic violence affects everyone, not just women.

“Statistics show that more than 1 in 3 women, approximately 1 in 3 men, and 1 in 2 transgender or non-binary, at some point in their lives,” Hood told NPR’s All Things Consigned. “They have bad sex.”

However, not everyone is at the same risk because some populations are more at risk than others, Hood said. Black and indigenous women experience higher rates of abuse, and women experience higher rates. Depp has attracted many fans in his name, but experts say the story has more. In an interview with All Things Considered on May 2, Kelly Lynch, a domestic violence researcher at the University of Texas at San Antonio, shared her insights.

First, the words “abuser” and “abuse” are not synonymous with violence.

“Violence that we consider being intentional harm to another,” Lynch said. “It may or may not be offensive. There might be bidirectional violence or they’re both violent towards one another. That doesn’t mean the same thing as mutual abuse.”

Lynch said that perhaps the more appropriate term might be “bidirectional violence.”

“Just because someone might be violent towards the other person in the relationship doesn’t mean that they were necessarily the primary abuser or aggressor,” Lynch said. “An example of why that might occur — if someone who was physically violent towards their abuser in self-defense or if they were triggered by something, the abuse that occurred in the relationship.”

There also may be biases clouding how Depp and Heard are both being seen in this case. 

“Any time you have men versus women, you might see double standards. You might see biases. “You will see the difference in how you interpret the behavior,” Lynch said.

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