More than a year before the #MeToo movement exploded, Amber Heard was raising her voice about the physical and emotional abuse she alleges she suffered while married to ex-husband Johnny Depp, a period she described as “some of the most painful and difficult times in my life” in an open letter she wrote for Porter magazine back in 2016.
Heard, 32, revisited her words by reading the letter in front of the audience at Tuesday night’s Porter‘s Incredible Women gala in Los Angeles, reports Variety.
Before reading her letter, Heard told the audience in attendance that she initially wrote it to her “silent sisters,” explaining that “at the time, my voice was alone, it was one that certainly felt alone. And Porter Magazine ran this open letter when it was perhaps most difficult, and for that reason I feel honoured to be here sharing this space with so many brave, powerful women, and I just wanted to take a moment to say how much I appreciate it. Also, crazy how relevant these words are today, two-and-a-half years later.”
In her letter, Heard writes: “Let’s start with the truth, the cold hard truth. When a woman comes forward to speak about her suffering, about injustice, instead of aid, respect and support, she will be met with hostility, skepticism and shame. Her motives will be questioned and her truth will be ignored. No matter how terrible or terrifying surviving trauma may be, truth is, it can pale in comparison to what happens after.”
She continues: “It’s no wonder that so many of us feel that we have to keep quiet, or keep our own safety to try to maintain our dignity by quietly enduring. The fear of being ostracized by your community is just about the most terrifying prospect there is. But I’m here to tell you there’s no need to make that terrible trade. It isn’t easy to raise your voice, to stand up for yourself and your truth and to do it alone, but our world is changing. Standing shoulder to shoulder as women, we comprise a vast army of voices and we can no longer accept silence.”
A member of the audience captured video of Heard reading her emotional letter:
As Variety reports, Heard joined other women at the event in symbolically removing her heels, a trend that began when emcee Minnie Driver kicked off hers while announcing, “I think I’m going to take my bloody shoes off. We’re all girls except Aaron [Taylor-Johnson, who was in attendance]. I just wore them for the pictures.”
In addition to Heard, Tiffanny Haddish and Sam Taylor-Johnson also removed their shoes and placed them atop the podium while addressing the audience.
Throughout the evening, women and men read speeches, poems and various writing from women throughout history in celebration of the “One Year Stronger” theme, marking the one-year anniversary of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements.
Among those participating were Charlize Theron, Mahershala Ali, Ellen Pompeo, Anna Kendrick, Alison Brie, Kate Beckinsale, Annie Lennox and Busy Philipps.
Proceeds raised by the event will reportedly be donated to Vital Voices, “a bipartisan non-profit organization for women’s rights and empowerment.”