Amber Heard is speaking up about her experience with domestic violence in a tearful new PSA video for the #GirlGaze project.
Earlier this year, Heard made headlines with abuse allegations against ex-husband Johnny Depp. The couple’s lengthy, highly publicized divorce battle ended when Depp agreed to pay Heard a $7 million divorce settlement, which she requested be donated to the ACLU and Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.
The emotional video begins with Heard asking, “How is this happening to me? I’m strong. I’m smart. I’m not a victim.”
The actress goes on to talk about the “shame” attached to being labeled a victim, saying, “It happens to so many women. You know, when it happens in your home behind closed doors with someone you love, it’s not as straightforward. If a stranger did this — as it was pointed out to me, if a stranger did this, it would be a no-brainer.”
She also spoke up about the support system that she says helped her get through it: “Telling someone safe is the beginning of choosing yourself. If I hadn’t had that — if I hadn’t had a few people that I really trust around me, a few women, a few friends — if I didn’t have them around me, how different my life would be.”
Heard also touched on the public nature of her domestic abuse allegations in the video, saying, “Just as a woman having gone through this on the public stage, in the public arena that I did it in, I have a unique opportunity to remind other women not only that this doesn’t have to be the way it is. You don’t have to do it alone. You’re not alone. And also, we can change this.”
“Violence against women is not limited to actual physical violence. It is also about how we deal with it and how we talk about it in the media and in our culture. And us taking responsibility for it is what really needs to change. We need to take responsibility for how we talk about these things,” Heard said in the PSA. “It’s the only way that 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.
The video ends with Heard delivering a powerful message straight to the camera, telling women, “Speak up. Speak up. Raise your voice. Your voice is the most powerful thing, and we together as women standing shoulder to shoulder cannot and will not any longer accept silence.”