Stop Telling Victims That If They’re Truthful They Will Win a Defamation Suit

Implicit bias and the myth that the truth will set you free.

Alexandria Roswick
The Virago

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Actor Amber Heard testifies at Fairfax County Circuit Court during a defamation case against her by ex-husband, actor Johnny Depp, in Fairfax, Virginia, on May 4, 2022. Getty

As the news of the Depp V. Heard verdict was announced last week, predictably, the internet exploded with controversy. For so long I had been keeping myself as distanced as possible from the details of the case, but a few weeks ago I broke down and began to follow the discourse religiously.

Although my unquenchable curiosity for the culture hasn’t killed me yet, this week it came pretty close.

Just as I suspected, social media was a dumpster fire. Heard supporters squabbled with Depp’s loyal followers — both acting as armchair psychologists — about certain mannerisms and body language that apparently gave them enough information to judge whether one was lying or not.

Interestingly enough, not everyone was in agreement about the “obvious” truth that was supposedly revealed throughout the six-week televised trial.

Coming to terms with the fact that my opinion of who abused who has shifted way too many times, I decided to pay more attention to the discussion focused on what this circus of a trial by general consensus means for #MeToo and survivors of abuse.

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Alexandria Roswick
The Virago

Top Writer in Feminism. Blogger for Say It Loud Space (UK). Trauma, relationships, and analysis of media and culture. https://linktr.ee/alexandriaroswick