For five weeks, the world has watched as Johnny Depp and Amber Heard have painted a harrowing picture of their four-year entanglement.
Inside Virginia's Fairfax County Courthouse — as part of the US$50 million ($78m) defamation suit the Pirates of the Caribbean star launched against his ex-wife in response to a 2018 Washington Post op-ed in which she didn't name him but identified herself as a "public figure representing domestic abuse" — the details in both actors' testimonies have become increasingly fraught and violent.
But it's the coverage of and reaction to the trial, particularly since the 36-year-old took the stand on May 4, that's become at least as troubling as Heard and Depp's relationship itself.
The Aquaman star has been accused of lying, become the butts of jokes as hashtags like #MePoo and #AmberTurd circulate on social media, and her mental health has been used to undermine her credibility.
Photos of her bruised face, split lip and clumps of her blonde hair on the former couple's bedroom floor have left the public largely unmoved.
Here is a woman recounting, in graphic detail, how an extremely famous man allegedly abused her. Why, in 2022, do so many people seem to hate her for it?
Heard has never claimed to have behaved perfectly in her relationship with Depp, who she met on the set of The Rum Diary in 2009. And it's this – that she is not, in the eyes of the world, a "good" victim – that has contributed to "an overwhelming sense of community doubt and mistrust about the veracity and validity of [Heard's] claims", CEO of Full Stop Australia, Hayley Foster, told news.com.au.
The "prevailing idea is that real victims, deserving victims, are meek, mild, helpless and subservient", Ms Foster explained.
"But this is generally not the case. In real life, people impacted by domestic and sexual violence are just like you and me. We'd do a range of things to protect ourselves and fight to get our power back if we were under threat."
"Sometimes we freeze. Sometimes we try to get away. Sometimes we fight back. But fighting back does not make you the primary aggressor. At the heart of domestic and sexual violence is an abuse of power. There needs to be a power imbalance and exploitation of that power. And in almost every case, there is an environment of fear and intimidation.
"Those who have been in a domestically abusive relationship describe feeling overpowered, overwhelmed, confused, and frightened. Their sense of self is eroded. But some part of them fights against this and seeks to reassert that self. Sometimes this involves retaliatory action."
The notion that Heard is not a "good" victim was further bolstered for some this week when CCTV footage was released of her and James Franco inside an elevator, the night before she filed for divorce from Depp.
"This goes to both our victim-blaming and slut-shaming tendencies. Again, because we think of victims as being subservient, helpless and powerless, we can be suspicious if the alleged victim steps outside this ideal," Ms Foster said.
"We also still have a culture which largely celebrates promiscuity in men but shames women for this same behaviour. It is a double standard, and a deeply entrenched one at that.
"In fact, in Australia, nearly a third of people think a lot of times women who say they were raped had just led the man on and later had regrets."
Speaking to Refinery 29, Australian reporter and author Lucia Osborne-Crowley — who has written two books about sexual assault — said the "public expectations of how she should behave in order to be believed ... shouldn't feed into whether her allegations are proven to be true in a court of law – the evidence should do that".
"I think it's important to remember that her story should be critiqued based on its own merits, not based on ideas about how 'real' victims should behave. It also contributes to the myth that a person has to be good or moral in order to have been subjected to domestic abuse," she explained.
"A lot of the nasty criticism I've seen is about Heard as a person, but the truth is she can be morally reprehensible in every other way and it's still possible that she's telling the truth."
As the trial continues, Ms Foster said she's "really worried about the message victim-blaming and slut-shaming sentiments are sending, both to victims of domestic and sexual violence and to perpetrators of it".
"My fear is that victims will feel they can't speak up or try to defend themselves," she added, "and that's not a good thing for stamping out gender-based violence."
Sexual harm - Where to get help
If it's an emergency and you feel that you or someone else is at risk, call 111.
If you've ever experienced sexual assault or abuse and need to talk to someone, contact Safe to Talk confidentially, any time 24/7:
• Call 0800 044 334
• Text 4334
• Email firstname.lastname@example.org
• For more info or to web chat visit safetotalk.nz
Alternatively contact your local police station - click here for a list.
If you have been sexually assaulted, remember it's not your fault.