Johnny Depp's Daughter Exposed a Huge Misconception About Domestic Violence

May 31st 2016

Lucy Tiven

In the wake of actress Amber Heard's allegations that actor Johnny Depp physically assaulted her, Depp's daughter Lily-Rose Depp shared two Instagram posts in support of the actor, on Sunday.

Heard's allegations stem from a May 21 incident when cops were called to Depp's home about an alleged domestic dispute and ultimately determined "a crime did not occur," according to the Associated Press. At that time, Heard declined to press charges.

Last Friday, Heard appeared at Los Angeles County Superior court and was granted a temporary domestic violence restraining order against Depp, the Washington Post reported.

Though the issue remains ongoing, Lily-Rose Depp's posts highlight the damaging misconception that all domestic abusers are monsters, whose other relationships reflect or corroborate abuse allegations.

"My dad is the sweetest most loving person I know, he's been nothing but a wonderful father to my little brother and I, and everyone who knows him would say the same," reads Lily-Rose Depp's first post.

These things may be entirely true, but using them to discount Heard's account of events glazes over the fact that victims' experiences with abusers are often very different from other relationships alleged perpetrators have had over the years.

"While it is not unheard of that abusers can often demonstrate abusive behavior outside of their intimate relationships, they also often come off as the kindest, most generous people to others," Claudia Garcia-Rojas, the co-director of the Chicago Taskforce on Violence Against Girls & Young Women, told Cosmopolitan.

Myth of the "monster."

“Batterers [sic] typically present a different personality outside the home than they do inside, which complicates a woman’s ability to describe her experiences to people outside the relationship,” K.J. Wilson, an advocate for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault wrote in "When Violence Begins at Home" according to the Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

The unfortunate reality is that abusers come in all shapes and sizes, and accounts of abuse can seem unbelievable to those who have known alleged abusers in other contexts.

"Sticking with the pervasive idea that abusers are monsters makes it easier to overlook those people who are in dangerous relationships with otherwise regular folks," Teresa Newsome pointed out on Bustle.

This myth that abusers are monsters also diminishes how common domestic violence actually is.

Both domestic abusers and victims of domestic abuse come from all walks of life and aren't always easy to spot from the outside of an abusive relationship.

"It is for this reason that we should caution the use of the word 'monster' when referring to abusers," Garcia-Rojas told Cosmo. "When we use the word 'monster' to describe an abuser, we not only pathologize the abusers, we also assume that domestic violence is a rare occurrence."

One in three women and one in four men have experienced physical violence from an intimate partner, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

"Domestic violence is an epidemic affecting individuals in every community, regardless of age, economic status, sexual orientation, gender, race, religion, or nationality," the NCADV pointed out.

Pointing out that alleged abusers are actually "good guys" can become a way of silencing and blaming victims.

"There are some true monsters out there," Newsome wrote on Bustle. "But even everyone's favorite 'nice guy' (or girl) can be an abuser. Sometimes abusers are really nice and funny (until they're not). Sometimes they're your best friends, or the love of your life. Sometimes they're really sensitive, caring people who lose control once in a while."

Depp's ex Vanessa Paradis also reportedly spoke out in defense of the actor, according to a note obtained by TMZ.

"In all these years I have known Johnny he has never been physically abusive with me, and this looks nothing like the man I lived with for 14 wonderful years," Paradis allegedly wrote. The letter also allegedly asserted that Depp was a "sensitive, loving and loved person."

Actor Paul Bettany, who co-starred with Depp in several films, spoke out in defense of the actor on Twitter.

Bettany posted a follow-up tweet clarifying that he meant to criticize Depp's "trial by Twitter," not silence or blame victims of abuse, but not before Twitter users pointed out that his experiences didn't discount Heard's allegations.

The temporary restraining order against Depp will remain in effect until a June 17 hearing.

Depp's lawyer, Laura Wasser, has maintained that the restraining order was financially motivated.