In honor of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Towards Women, actress Amber Heard is opening up about her own experiences as an alleged victim of domestic violence.
“I guess there was a lot of shame attached to that label of ‘victim,’” Heard said in an emotional video shared to Facebook by the GirlGaze Project. “It happens to so many women. When it happens in your home, behind closed doors, with someone you love, it’s not as straightforward.”
“If a stranger did this it would be a no-brainer,” Heard added.
Heard recently finalized her divorce from ex-husband Johnny Depp after a lengthy and contentious legal battle in which Heard claimed Depp was physically and emotionally abusive. The couple ended up settling their divorce for $7 million.
Depp has consistently denied any allegations of domestic abuse or wrongdoing during the duration of their divorce proceedings.
“As a women having gone through this in the public stage, in the public arena that I did it in, I have a unique opportunity to remind other women that this doesn’t have to be the way it is,” she continued. “You don’t have to do it alone. You’re not alone, and we can change this.”
According to Heard, there’s more to dealing with violence against women that just addressing the problem of physical violence; there is also dealing with the media coverage and the public conversation surrounding violence against women.
“We need to take responsibility for how we talk about these things,” Heard said. “The only way people are going to feel comfortable coming forward, raising their voices and standing up for themselves, is if we change the system in place that keeps them quiet.”
“Speak up. Raise your voice. Your voice is the most powerful thing,” Heard concluded. “We cannot and will not, any longer, accept silence.”
The actress has been laying low since settling the divorce back in August. However, she recently stepped out earlier this month at Glamour’s Women of the Year Awards where she read an essay written by Brock Turner’s sexual assault victim. Check out the video below to hear more.