Own Your Shit, An Open Letter to Johnny Depp

Photo taken from Hollywood Scanner video, Amber Heard after fight with Johnny Depp, on cover of People Magazine, June 1, 2016.

Dear Johnny Depp,

Unfortunately, we live in a world where celebrities can abuse women and for the most part, it has no lasting impact on their career. You could make another movie in a couple of years and everyone will have forgotten or forgiven the fact that you beat up your much younger wife throughout your 15 month marriage.

However, women will continue to be beaten and violently attacked by their partners, women who don’t have financial resources or the fortune of beauty and youth, women who are completely isolated and without means of leaving abusive men who are emboldened by your actions. Men who align themselves with you and whose violent, misogynistic behaviors are explicitly reinforced by you and the lack of consequences you suffer because you are famous.

Every time a famous man is accused of physically beating up or raping a woman and the matter is settled out of court or the perpetrator does not face legal recourse, the rest of us are told, “This was not really a big deal.” Which translates into, “The safety and well being of women is not really that important.” People love you so much they didn’t even want to believe you were beating up your wife despite evidence to the contrary.

For women to exist peacefully and with human dignity on this planet while we are here, we cannot extricate ourselves from men. For one, 99.9% of us love men. Romantically, socially, in a familial way. We exist on this planet with you. Our liberation is bound to men understanding their actions and correcting them. We have done our part. We have opened clinics, begged for funding, made the most social impact with the little resources we have, we have marched, we have lobbied, we have declared and stood up, we have demanded justice. We are not the problem. The laws that are stacked against us are not our responsibility. The sexual and physical behavior of men is not our responsibility.

You have a tremendous opportunity here to correct your actions and to make a huge difference. Imagine, the ripples of change that would occur if you stood up, condemning domestic violence, condemning your own actions, what would that mean in the eyes of so many men who grew up watching you wide-eyed in the movie theater? As tragic and terrible as your actions are, this is an opportunity for you to stand up, own your shit, and let people know what you did was wrong, you regret it, you are seeking help, you are selling your island and donating the proceeds to organizations that help women suffering from domestic violence and you encourage others to do the same. You are setting up clinics for men to get the help they need. You are setting up funds for organizations to figure out ways to eradicate violence against women all over the planet forever.

It’s time, Johnny Depp. Own your shit and be a man. Put an end to the cycle of physical abuse.

-Tracey Noelle Luz

August 20, 2016

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