Many years ago when I was working at the Wagoner Tribune, there was a story that came out of a small-town nearby called Okay where the police chief at the time was involved with a domestic dispute with his boyfriend. The boyfriend had an assault charge filed on him in a previous county. The victim was the police chief.
For most people in the conservative communities, this was the type of story people could joke about or giggle about. Abuse is still abuse regardless of who is abused. At one time, it was considered justifiable to whip your kids or wife. Times have changed, but yet we’re still a long way to fully understand abuse happens in many ways.
In a previous post, I talked about how movies or TV shows often portrayed women hitting men without any repercussions. Take the movie The Hangover where Rachel Harris plays a woman who threatens and even implies she’ll physically abuse her boyfriend played by Ed Helms. This was played for laughs. It wasn’t. It’s no surprise Todd Phillips, the director of that movie, also had a character in Road Trip take a baseball bat to bashing her boyfriend’s car upon hearing he had cheated on her. Then, she begins to assault the boyfriend with the baseball bat.
Now, imagine if Ed Helms played a character who threatened and implied that he abused his girlfriend. Imagine if a college frat boy took a baseball bat to his girlfriend’s car and then started beating on her upon hearing she had been cheating on him. It’s not funny. It’s a Lifetime movie. It’s true life. It happens every day. It’s not funny.
Neither is watching Kermit the Frog constantly hit Miss Piggy, but Miss Piggy has been punching on Kermit for no reason for decades. Imagine if Billy Crystal had hit Meg Ryan back for slapping him in When Harry Met Sally. Imagine if in Next Friday, Mike Epps and Ice Cube went to his ex-girlfriend’s workplace and began harassing them. This wouldn’t be considered entertainment.
Currently, the defamation trial is underway between Johnny Depp and his ex-wife, Amber Heard. Stories have come out that Heard was abusive, both physically and mentally in their marriage. Depp is claiming that Heard made false reports claiming he was abusive which caused him to lose acting roles. Some people are for Depp. Others support Heard. Some don’t care for either.
This comes on the heels of last month’s Oscars telecast where Will Smith slapped Chris Rock on stage and on live TV for making a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. Initially, Will seemed to laugh but Jada wasn’t amused. After which, Will assaulted Rock. Later, Will and Jada posted photos of themselves celebrating his Oscar win. It was disgusting and many people were divided. Some people defended Will while also condemning the action. In an interview with Jim Carrey, who was very outspoken, CBS’ Gayle King said the event “escalated” with Carrey immediately stopping her.
Carrey was right. It didn’t escalate. I think a lot of people have known that Will and Jada have had a rocky relationship. It’s obvious there’s problems and I wouldn’t be surprised if they divorce very soon. A lot of people have come out and blasted Jada for her actions.
Personally, I don’t care for either Jada or Heard. Also, after hearing the household Depp grew up in as a child, it’s easy to see why he would have some problems in his life as a young adult into adulthood. Back then, it was known as typical celebrity male behavior. But now, we see it as a man who was angry and didn’t have no way to express it but to lash out, do drugs and alcohol and destroy hotel rooms.
Depp is 15 years older than I but we both grew up in the same mentality that men don’t talk about their feelings. You don’t cry at all. You don’t cry in public. You don’t cry in front of a woman. It’s a sign of weakness. But it’s actually a sign of being human.
Being a former crime reporter, I’ve seen a few cases of women being the abuser. But mostly, law enforcement is still a boys’ club of toxic masculinity. A lot of people won’t report abuse even if the abuser is a man. What makes you think a man will report it if it’s a woman or a same-sex partner?
I’m not saying that domestic abuse shouldn’t be criticized. Two women very special to me were victims of domestic abuse by their former spouses. And mostly, men are the abusers. But sometimes, it’s the women. It’s not just physical abuse. Depp and his sibling say their mother was the one.
It’s seems odd that we talk about “mean girls” but what do we think happens when they’re in relationships? They don’t change. I’ve known men who said they had to walk on eggshells around their girlfriends. It happens.
It happens because people want control. They select their victims. And they see how to play them, to abuse them. Some people have an advanage. They’re a parent, grandparent or legal guardian so they use that as a way to abuse their children. Others choose their victims by doing the bait and switch. They’ll pretend to be one way when they’re building a relationship and then they turn when they know their partner can’t back out as easily. They limited their involvement with their friends or they’ll move to a new community, state or even country.
I’m not sure how the lawsuit will end between Depp and Heard. If Depp wins, Heard should have the same issues in her career. She should lose roles or have her reputation tarnished with in-depth news stories. Or at the very least, more victims of domestic abuse should come forward. Just like the MeToo movement, it’s a cancer on this society that we need to address.
What do you think? Please comment.