A male juror in the defamation trial between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard spoke to “Good Morning America” ​​on Thursday about why the jury ruled Heard defamed Depp, telling GMA that jurors did not consider all photo evidence of Heard’s alleged physical injuries to be authentic. They were struck by Heard’s failure to honor her promise to keep all $7 million of her divorce settlement to two charities and that they did not believe she was behaving in the relationship in ways that suggested she was being abused. The juror also noted that the jury’s verdict was partly because they did not find Heard’s attitude “credible.”

“It seemed like she could flip the switch on her emotions. She would answer one question and cry; two seconds later, she would go cold. It didn’t seem natural,” said the judge.

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Experts on trauma, domestic violence, and sexual assault say victims often behave in ways that question people’s ideas about credibility. Most people have inaccurate stereotypical assumptions about victims based on what they’ve seen in the media or heard from others. Most survivors do not come forward because they are afraid of how they will be seen.

“These judgments about how ‘real victims’ react to abuse and trauma are often very limited – a victim can easily be disregarded for being too emotional or not emotional enough, too calm or too upset. Is that talking about their traumatic experiences, especially for victims who testify in court, is often very traumatic,” said Laura Palumbo, director of communications at the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

“There is no one right way to react or react when you have to retell your experiences of abuse, and the pressure victims face knowing they are being judged, accused, or disbelieved only makes the process more difficult,” she added.

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Nicole Bedera, a sociologist who studies sexual victimization and perpetration, said the juror’s comments reflect expectations of how victims should behave.

“Victims are people. They experience a whole range of emotions. And yes, that includes neutrality. Neutrality often occurs even after large, exhausting expressions of emotion. Numbness is protective when our feelings become overwhelming,” she said.

Intimate partner violence — physical, sexual, emotional, or economic — is a public health problem that affects millions of people in the United States each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 1 in 4 women and almost 1 in 10 men have experienced some form of intimate partner violence. Nationally, 81% of women and 43% of men reported experiencing some form of sexual harassment and assault in their lifetime, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

According to the National Crime Victimization Survey, only about half of all domestic violence incidents are reported to the police. About a third of rapes are reported. Experts say the fear of not being believed is a major reason why survivors of sexual and domestic violence don’t say anything. Experts say disbelief is ingrained in systems, and color survivors are even less likely to be viewed as credible.

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A study published in the journal “Criminal Justice” on the police’s perception of rape complainants concluded that “police suspicion of rape allegations stems from a social environment marked by a history of mistrust of women. .”

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The juror in the Depp v. Heard trial said he ultimately concluded that Depp and Heard “both insulted each other.”

“It strikes me that the jurors believed that Amber Heard was being abused, but they also did not believe that she had the right to identify herself as a victim of abuse publicly,” Bedera said. “It’s contradictory, but it exposes a lot about how we think about violence against women in our society. We don’t judge things based on whether a man is violent. We judge them based on whether we thought a woman deserved the violence she endured.”

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