COLORADO SPRINGS — A local organization that helps victims of domestic violence says the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard case has brought new awareness to domestic violence against men.

The actor and his ex-wife are currently embroiled in a very public defamation case against one another. Both claim the other was physically and emotionally abusive throughout their relationship.

Anne Markley, CEO of the nonprofit TESSA, says a case like this brings more light to the issue of domestic violence and gives the courage to get help. She adds there is stigma surrounding men reporting abuse who may be afraid of becoming emasculated if they come forward with accusations.

“Certainly, men in our society feel like they have to behave a certain way and I think oftentimes, men are embarrassed to come forward,” said Markley. “They feel isolated, and they feel like they may be emasculated. They might feel they won’t be believed by other people or what they are experiencing might be minimized.”

Markley explained that the media helps individuals who identify with domestic violence cases shown in the media such as the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard case reach out more.

“Just because you identify in a certain way or you’re a certain gender doesn’t minimize what you’ve gone through and there are still people here to help,” stated Markley.

TESSA established in May 1997 was a response to a high rate of calls to local law enforcement from women threatened or assaulted by their partners. At the time, Domestic Violence was considered a private matter and resources were difficult to locate. TESSA became an information provider and resource referral service. The local organization evolved into a multifaceted agency that includes a confidential Safehouse, Victim Advocacy, Counseling and Children’s Programs, community outreach and Education.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence and needs help or resources, TESSA has a 24/7 Safeline at (719) 633-3819.