Weaponizing Gender

The Depp/Heard trial is almost over. Waiting for the jury verdict to come in.

It’s been… a journey. If you’re wondering why this trial was so compelling to millions — including me… I can tell you, plain & simple.

Anyone who’s experienced narcissistic abuse & gaslighting recognized —from the evidence & testimony– who the abuser was.

And collectively, we realized… it wasn’t Depp. PLOT TWIST.

As we await the verdict, I’d like to share 6 things I learned during this trial.

Lesson 1. DV survivors can spot gas-lighting a mile away

On Twitter, I noticed that DV survivors — both male & female — were quick to rally around Depp.

Why is that? It’s not just celebrity. Many people aren’t fans.

It’s something much more human.

If you’ve been on the receiving end of abuse — you instinctively recognize the dynamics & behaviors that signal an abuser. You can’t help it.

And you’re rooting for the truth to come out — not just for Depp, but for everyone who’s watched a gas-lighting narcissist get away with their lies & then skate away to charm the next “true believer” AKA victim.

Lesson 2. A shameless griefer co-opted #MeToo

When the allegations against Depp first came out, my knee-jerk reaction was to believe Heard. #MeToo was in full swing & it felt like part of a much-needed house-cleaning in the entertainment industry.

I wasn’t a Depp fan — & I couldn’t imagine why anyone would makeup those horrific stories of abuse — especially someone who’d donated their multi-million dollar divorce settlement to charity.

And then… I watched the trial. And saw the evidence. And witnessed a jaw-dropping litany of easily disprovable lies coming from Heard.

My heart sank. Her story didn’t add up.

The evidence made it blatantly clear that Heard had NOT donated her settlement — & did not suffer the horrific injuries she’d claimed.

And — unlike Bill Cosby & Harvey Weinstein — there were no authentic #metoo voices corroborating her story. In fact, numerous women from Depp’s past stepped forward & denied any abuse. And Heard had a documented DV record she fought hard to hide.

I’m ashamed that I believed her so quickly. I feel conned.

And I know I’m not alone in that feeling.

Lesson 3. Psych Tests are easily abused & mis-used

During the trial, Heard relied on Dr. Dawn Hughes, an expert witness with impressive credentials, to backup her claims of suffering PTSD due to IPV — intimate partner violence.

But Dr. Hughes testimony was littered with “tells” that revealed her bias & unprofessionalism — as Dr Curry pointed out in her rebuttal testimony.

Like any powerful tool, psych tests can be abused & mis-used. That’s why it’s crucial to follow the scientific method when you’re searching for the truth.

Lesson 4. Data & evidence can change your mental model

Dr. Curry used well-established protocols in her testing work — and it shows.

Her diagnosis is consistent with the available data — and FAR more predictive of what we all saw play out LIVE in front of our eyes during the trial. And Dr. Curry’s description was eerily predictive of what we saw play out LIVE.

When applied with discipline, psychological tests are a powerful way to create a mental model that describes & predicts behavior. But like any powerful tool — they can also be co-opted & abused by griefers.

Lesson 5. “Believe All Women” got weaponized… & it sucks

The pendulum of public opinion swings back-n-forth — & right now, in mid-2022, there are many forces pushing back on women’s progress.

That’s what makes this case so heartbreaking

With her self-serving lies, Heard single-handedly setback women’s progress & weaponized the #Metoo movement. This makes it harder for women who truly experience abuse to come forward & be believed.

However, there’s a silver lining #AbuseHasNoGender.

This trial raised the profile of male abuse victims, who often feel too humiliated & intimidated to come forward.

When you think about it, the slogan “believe all women” is deeply sexist — because women are people & people can be AWFUL.

What if we applied “Believe All Women” to Amy Cooper — the Central Park Karen who told the police her life was in danger when a black birder politely asked her to follow the posted signs & leash her dog?

Or Carolyn Bryant, the woman who told local authorities that Emmett Till had flirted with her?

We need to take serious allegations seriously — & not believe OR condemn anyone, simply based on gender.

Lesson 6. Think you’ve nailed motivation? Show me the data

As I listened to the evidence & testimony in the Depp/Heard trial, I had an epiphany about motivation that challenged my assumptions.

And it transformed my mental model of the situation.

I see the same thing happen with my startup clients, all the time. You think you know what motivates your customers… & then you do some research.

THAT’S when the clouds part, & clarity shines through… & guess what?

It’s not always the view you want to see. And if you’re honest with yourself & searching for truth… that’s the moment you change your mind.

I saw this recently with a startup client — who assumed that his customers were motivated by status & bragging rights, but found through research that they were motivated by high-minded ideals & meaningful collective action.

And to his credit — he pivoted his startup’s product focus to match tbese motivations, which was NOT easy…. but ultimately the right thing to do.

What about YOU? Have you changed your thinking because of the scientific method? Tell me in the comments I’d love to know.

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Game designer, startup coach, author, entrepreneur gamethinking.io

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