Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s six-week-long trial that has been making headlines has finally come to an end. Depp has won the defamation case. Actor turned humanitarian Somy Ali, much like many others across the globe, has closely watched the case. She opines about the proceedings being televised as Penney Azcarate, the chief judge of Fairfax County (Va.) Circuit Court allowed the operation of two pool cameras by Court TV inside the courtroom. Meanwhile, many spoke against Azcarate’s decision, highlighting how disturbing, unkind and unethical it is for the victims of sexual violence.
“I followed this trial like a complete addict due to the nature of my work and for a very significant reason: Men are victims too! Do I know for certain what Amber Heard stated throughout the trial was the absolute truth? No. Do I think she was credible on the stand in comparison to over 30,000 victims I have seen while running NMT, the answer is an absolute NO. Heard also failed when it came to presenting forensic evidence,” says Somy, who’s NGO, NO More Tears, in Miami, works towards the betterment of women and children.
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She continues, “My views on this trial will come across as rather schizophrenic because it seems as though two individuals with major unaddressed psychological issues/traumas jumped onto a crazy train and decided to stay on for as long as they could. It’s evident that Depp wanted to clear his name, but he had no qualms in letting the world in on his alcohol and drug issues. This went in his favour and he appeared genuine when he was cross examined or whenever he took the stand. I do not believe that Heard was sexually assaulted by Depp. However, I do believe that they both engaged in verbal and physical abuse towards one another in the relationship. We all heard the recordings of abusive nature. I believe Heard provoked Depp and if one is on drugs and alcohol as Depp was, the provocation can lead to domestic violence within a matter of seconds which is not an excuse by any means. I am ambiguous about the verdict because I can gauge from watching the trial in its entirety and my experience of 15 years that they were both abusive toward one another. Thus, while Heard looked disingenuous and exaggerated on the stand, I still believe that there were times where Depp did slap or hit her.”
Somy supports televising trials when it comes to domestic violence, more so, when the victim is a male as that’s rarely believed and men are less likely to admit to it. However, according to her, it’s a shame when a trial such as this was turned into a mockery of the very crimes such as domestic violence and sexual battery.
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“This seemed more like a circus than a trial in my opinion. Depp is much too big of a star with a huge fan following that it would be implausible for him to fail. Also, this was not a Bill Cosby or Harvey Weinstein type of crime where it was completely clear cut that the former mentioned were completely despicable humans and criminals. Depp and Heard, both as individuals contained a great deal of gray as opposed to Cosby and Weinstein being straight out a black and white issue. These issues should be televised globally, not just in India. All said and done I deem this to be a beginning of our society accepting the fact that men can be victims too. My organization has assisted several male victims and it’s about time this is accepted to be a norm. Once again, I blame our society for pressuring little boys by saying that only girls can cry and if boys cry, they are not manly. This is all rubbish and ignorant talk because there is nothing wrong with young boys or grown men being emotional or expressing their emotions. Thus, while it’s a step forward, I will end by quoting the writer, Megan Garber, ‘When allegations of abuse become fodder for national comedy that is its own evidence—and its own verdict’,” she signs off.