Depp vs Heard: Duluth Model expert testimony | HBR Talk 223


“Men are magic,” HBR Talk 223 opener:

Last week we spoke to Jewel Eldora about the woke mind virus and its implications for the men’s rights movement. We noted that Jewel identified Minnesota as a point of origin for this type of thinking.

Know what else came out of Minnesota?
The Duluth model of understanding and community response to intimate partner violence. Let’s dig a little into that pile of bovine excrement and see what comes up.

According to the model’s website,, it is “an ever evolving way of thinking about how a community works together to end domestic violence.” Stated aspects include taking the blame off of the victim and placing accountability for abuse on the offender, and offering change opportunities for offenders through court-ordered educational groups for batterers. These things would sound great, if the program didn’t also explicitly state that it involves prioritizing the voices and experiences of women, and characterize abuse as a male-perpetrated behavior. Specifically, the community approach section of the page that describes what the Duluth Model is states that a community using the approach “Believes that battering is a pattern of actions used to intentionally control or dominate an intimate partner, and actively works to change societal conditions that support men’s use of tactics of power and control over women.”

Further down the page we see the model’s outline for a coordinated community response (CCR) which describes written policies to guide practitioners at each point of intervention. This includes domestic violence victims’ advocacy organizations, shelters, police, prosecutors, court personnel, and probation officers, as well as anyone working in court-ordered perpetrator programs intended to change perpetrators’ relationship behavior. 

The CCR outline describes protocols and procedures that link the various response entities together, allows for dialogue that focuses not on the individual but on “systemic problems,” and a commitment to present, essentially, a unified front against the alleged perpetrator at every step within the system.

The model is straight out of the woke mind virus playbook, using as its underlying basis the threat narrative that underpins all feminist dogma: Patriarchy theory, which holds that western society is a male-dominated social structure in which men hold power, and women are largely excluded from it, which is maintained by the male population’s use of coercive control, violence, exploitation, and cultural standards to subjugate and oppress the female population. The Duluth Model holds that domestic violence is part of the violence used to achieve this oppressive subjugation, and therefore cannot be treated the same when it is female-perpetrated. 

So what does this mean for a man confronted by this system due to abuse within a heterosexual relationship? Before his case receives any evaluation at all, advocates and law-enforcement are predisposed to view him as a domineering batterer bent on exercising patriarchal control over his partner. Every detail of the case will be viewed and skewed through that filter, with motives imputed based on it and the nature and validity of experiences judged by its standards. 

One example is the program’s gender-unequal treatment of behavior which can be labeled “coercive control.”

To understand it, imagine this scenario:

Pat is in a relationship identified by a local shelter as affected by intimate partner abuse based on the following description of an incident and the details that influenced it.

“My partner treats my valued possessions like they are unimportant and has accidentally broken some of my treasured heirlooms, then dismissed my feelings of loss and anger as putting material items before our relationship.”
“My partner makes fun of me in front of our friends.”
“My partner says deeply hurtful things to me when we are alone, frequently putting me down in ways that make me feel ugly and worthless.”
“When I try to talk to my partner I am frequently ignored, denied consideration, or treated like my concerns are invalid or unimportant.”

Recently this occurred when I confronted my partner about these issues. I felt totally disrespected when my partner tried to shut me off and hide from the discussion. I followed my partner into the next room and blocked the way out to ensure that my concerns would have to be addressed. I moved around my partner to maintain eye contact in order to avoid further disrespect so that we could try to resolve our issues. When I did not permit further disrespect or tolerate being abandoned again, my partner shoved me, and I defended myself. That’s how the fight started.”

Assume for this scenario that Pat has all of the same potentially extenuating details, and Pat’s partner has all the same potentially extenuating details, regardless of their sex, so we are only considering the details given in the scenario. Pat will have very different experiences with a system guided by the Duluth Model depending on gender. 

If the description is given by a woman, Patricia, program guidance admonishes all personnel to believe her. She will be viewed as a victim of emotional abuse whose initial aggression was an act of self-defense against coercive control that involved psychological attacks on her self-esteem and her sense of being respected and valued as a person, who was physically attacked for just trying to have a conversation with her insensitive, emotionally stingy partner.

If the very same description is given by a man, Patrick, however, program guidance admonishes all personnel to suspect him as a lying perpetrator trying to deflect accountability to his victim. He will be viewed as an abuser who trapped his partner in an enclosed space and began aggressively berating her about behavior he feels entitled to control, and he is now trying to excuse his violence by blaming the victim and portraying her as the perpetrator. 

Exact same scenario, very different treatment, all based on gender ideology. Our victim’s advocacy and criminal justice systems have used this model as their primary guide for responding to partner violence complaints for over 40 years. As the Depp/Heard case has demonstrated, it’s not a sufficient means of evaluating relationships with partner violence, especially female-perpetrated violence sustained by the male partner, and it has the capacity to be used as a tool of further abuse. After being so  catastrophically wrong for so long, isn’t it about time for reform?

This week, we had the opportunity to see a Duluth model expert testify in the Depp/Heard case, which is receiving a lot of public coverage. Since we have been talking about the woke mind virus, its relation to the men’s rights dialogue, and things that have come out of its area of origin, we’re going to continue this week with Jewel Eldora to examine and discuss this Duluth Model Expert’s testimony.  You can find a link to the stream, running at 7:30PM EST on several platforms, at

Hannah Wallen
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About the author

Hannah Wallen

Hannah has witnessed women's use of criminal and family courts to abuse men in five different counties, and began writing after she saw one man's ordeal drag on for seven years, continuing even when authorities had substantial evidence that the accuser was gaming the system. She is the author of Breaking the Glasses, written from an anti-feminist perspective, with a focus on men's rights and sometimes social issues. Breaking the Glasses refers to breaking down the "ism" filters through which people view the world, replacing thought in terms of political rhetoric with an exploration of the human condition and human interactions without regard to dogmatic belief systems. She has a youtube channel (also called Breaking the Glasses), and has also written for A Voice For Men and Genderratic. Hannah's work can be supported at

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