Hollywood A-lister Johnny Depp spent much of the past several months in the public eye, but not because of a starring role in a new movie or an award that's been bestowed upon him. Quite the opposite: Depp has been in the spotlight lately because of domestic violence—or the allegation thereof, at least.
In the spring of 2022, Depp and ex-wife Amber Heard battled it out in civil court over mutual accusations of defamation relating to domestic violence. On June 1, the jury found Heard liable for the three counts of defamation that had been leveled against her by the "Pirates of the Caribbean" actor. Jurors also decided that one of three statements made by Depp's former attorney met the criteria for defamation. A motion made by Heard's team in July 2022, asking to have the judgment set aside or a mistrial declared due to an identity issue concerned a juror, was rejected by federal judge Penney Azcarate.
Some insiders attribute the conflicts between Heard and Depp to the overwhelming demands and stress of a notoriously fickle industry. But how much blame is due to the pair's profession? Are other actors equally at risk for allegedly taking their stress out on a spouse?
And what about the general population—are some people more likely to become violent toward a significant other because of what they do for a living? Let's find out.
What Domestic Violence Is (and Isn't)
First, it's important that everyone understand what “domestic violence” really means. The state of New Jersey defines it as “a pattern of physical, emotional, verbal, and sexual abuse, which includes, but is not limited to, threats, intimidation, isolation, and/or financial control.”
Additionally, the parties must be current or former spouses, intimate partners, dating partners, cohabitants, or co-parents.
In addition, domestic violence:
- May also include parents, children, and other relatives
- Occurs in same-sex relationships as well as heterosexual ones
- Can happen even if the parties no longer live together
- Can include threats to harm in addition to actual harm
- Is not limited to members of any particular race, socioeconomic class, religion, age group, or other demographic
The terms “domestic violence” and “domestic abuse” are often used interchangeably, but they are not necessarily the same. Their definitions may vary slightly depending on the jurisdiction.
Who Perpetrates DV?
Here in the United States, we have some pretty widespread misconceptions about who abuses whom. The stereotype is that domestic violence occurs to women and by men, in lower-income brackets or in blue-collar families, and maybe disproportionately affects people who are more conservative, less educated, and prone to addiction.
The stereotypes simply aren't true. Women can and do abuse their partners. DV occurs at all levels of household income. There's no correlation with political or spiritual leanings. Domestic violence offenders may have a GED or a Ph.D.
Anyone can be arrested and charged with DV, and anyone can be a victim, regardless of characteristics like gender, location, economic class, education, and lifestyle.
An Interesting Report
A series of high-profile DV cases involving professional football players and their wives and girlfriends about a decade ago kicked off a national conversation about the topic. However, experts cautioned that simply because these cases were getting a lot of media attention didn't indicate that the NFL had a significantly higher proportion of abusers in its ranks.
There was one group of people that did, however—law enforcement officers. A 2013 study conducted by researchers at Bowling Green University, titled “Fox in the Henhouse: A Study of Police Officers Arrested for Crimes Associated with Domestic and/or Family Violence,” found that some 40% of police officer-helmed families experienced domestic violence. That's in contrast to the general public's rate of only 10%.
Of course, this doesn't mean that every police officer is abusive. The study is old by academic standards, and it involved a very small sample size. So it's important not to blow the findings out of proportion.
Help From a Professional Team
The courts in New Jersey, as well as the courts of public opinion, take domestic violence charges very seriously—as they should. As a result, people can sometimes let a stereotype or blanket generalization affect their perception. If you have been targeted as someone who's violent or who has committed some act of domestic violence, it can be extremely difficult to get out from underneath that accusation. That's true even if you're not guilty of the crime.
If you find yourself in this position, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm, who have the expertise you need when it comes to allegations of domestic violence. Attorney Lento and his team will listen to your story thoughtfully and without prejudice, no matter who you are or how you earn your living. Tell us about your case by calling 888-535-3686 or clicking here to contact us.