A Survivor’s Take on the Depp v. Heard Trial

Bree Yoo Sun Jung, 정 유선
4 min readJun 13, 2022

I’ve waited to respond. I’ve watched the feeds on Medium pop up with take after take, article after article, perspective after perspective. And when I say that, I really just mean, I’ve half-assed read the majority of the judgement people have passed on these two hurt individuals.

The Depp v. Heard Trial saddens me. I am not writing about my belief of who is right or wrong. I am not writing about my belief of whether the case sets new common law to the court of public opinion on precedent of domestic violence as a woman or a man in our societies.

I am writing with a broken heart as a survivor. The calloused, invasive, ruthless nature by which people in a plethora of professions and fields responded to this trial is troubling. Fields such as journalism, news anchors, talk show hosts, social service and domestic violence advocacy groups, practitioners in the legal field, in social work, in clinical and therapeutic settings, and yes, bloggers and writers on platforms such as Tik Tok, Instagram, Medium, op eds, and beyond. There was such little, if any, respect for the incredibly intimate, personal, difficult, traumatizing experience this trial was for both parties.

There was such and is such little regard for the dignity of human life and the right to be treated with honor simply because one is a human being.

As a survivor, I could say a lot I suppose. About who is right, about power dynamics, about racial, social, gender inequity.

But what I really want to highlight tonight is that in any domestic violence or intimate partner violence situation, both the perpetrator and the survivor are indeed lifelong survivors of complex trauma.

Source: York Festival of Ideas

At some point, the perpetrator survived incredible trauma too. Hurt people hurt people. When discussing abusers, it’s not appropriate to villainize him, her, or them. Because abusers are extremely, exceptionally, extraordinarily complex human beings. And at one point, nearly every abuser was abused, traumatized, or deeply, profoundly wounded. Abusers are not two dimensional. Abusers are fully human, with rights to privacy, with rights to human dignity, with the right to tell their story, and the right to heal as well.

Bree Yoo Sun Jung, 정 유선

I was formerly the young mother who leaned into destiny. But these days I'm young-ish. I write about race, motherhood, transracial adoption, and hood feminism.