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'Mutual Abuse' Is a Trending Myth That Could Harm Abuse Victims

ICYMI, Johnny Depp is currently on trial pressing charges against Amber Heard for defamation due to Amber Heard claiming abuse at his hands in a Washington Post story in 2018 after settling their domestic violence fueled divorce case. 

Social media users have been intensely watching this situation unfold since it started back in 2016, and haven’t been shy in taking sides loudly.

Recently, due to both sets of lawsuits, people are saying that they “mutually abused” one another. Regardless of whose side you’re on, here’s two major reasons as to why “mutual abuse” isn’t a real thing.

1. Abuse relies on a power imbalance.

A power imbalance can be caused by a myriad of different reasons. It could be intersectional and systemic (the closer to a white, cis, straight, able-bodied/minded person you are, the more systemic power you hold), as much as it could be due to finances, manipulation, ages, etc. An abusive relationship thrives on a party exerting power over another.

This isn’t to say someone who is marginalized or poor can’t be abusive. They 100% still can be, but abuse is based on a form of power imbalance where the scales tip on the side of one person more than another. For a couple to be mutually abusive, that means there’s a power imbalance on both sides which is extremely rare. 

2. Fighting back or defending yourself against your abuser isn’t also abuse, and that line of thinking could endanger abuse victims.

Laws differ from state to state in regards to self-defense in domestic violence cases. We’ve seen people sent to jail for fighting back in situations of sexual assault, physical abuse, and more. To label self-defense against abuse as abuse itself puts the same people, who are already at a disadvantage due to the

people abuse victim

Amber Heard Could Harm

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