Warning: This article contains some graphic descriptions of domestic violence.
Supergirl and Glee actress Melissa Benoist has opened up about being in an abusive relationship.
In a 14-minute Instagram video posted last night, Melissa declared: “I am a survivor of domestic violence, or IPV, intimate partner violence.”
The 31-year-old met her former partner shortly after getting out of another relationship – at first he was “charming” and “seemed to treasure who [she] was”, but soon became emotionally manipulative and later, violent.
Melissa does not name the alleged perpetrator, but says he was younger than her, and that his “immaturity” initially turned her off.
She said that he was jealous, hated when she acted in romantic scenes, checked her devices regularly and started controlling what she wore.
“Work in general was a touchy subject,” she revealed. “He didn’t want me ever kissing or even having flirtatious scenes with men, which was very hard for me to avoid, so I began turning down auditions, job offers, test deals and friendships, because I didn’t want to hurt him.”
The manipulation first escalated into violence around five months into the relationship, when the man threw a smoothie into her face. After that, attacks became frequent:
“The stark truth is, I learned what it felt like to be pinned down and slapped repeatedly, punched so hard I felt the wind go out of me, dragged by my hair across pavement, head-butted, pinched until my skin broke, slammed against the wall so hard the drywall broke, choked.”
She locked herself into rooms to get away from him, but he broke down the door. “I learned not to value my property… I learned not to value myself,” she said.
“His apologies were heartfelt and effective at getting us back to sanity and a semblance of a loving relationship, but deep down I never believed he would change, I just fooled myself into believing I could help him.”
View this post on Instagram
The long and winding road of healing and reconciliation has brought me to this moment where I feel strong enough to talk about my experience openly, honestly and without shame. By sharing my story, hopefully I can empower others to seek help and extricate themselves from abusive relationships. Everyone deserves to be loved void of violence, fear and physical harm. @futureswithoutviolence
She said the abuse turned her into the “ugliest version” of herself – she was unreliable, lied to friends and family, and became violent herself in order to fend off the attacks.
The turning point came when he threw an iPhone at her face, breaking her nose and tearing her iris, almost rupturing her eyeball and permanently damaging her vision. She lied to police and medical professionals about how she got the injury, but mustered up enough courage to confide in a friend, who encouraged her to get out as fast as she could.
According to US figures, one in four women have experienced some kind of domestic violence, a statistic Melissa wants to change.
“I hope that telling my story might help more stories like mine from happening,” she said. “If you are enduring what I went through and you see this, you might be able to find a tiny straw that will break the camel’s back.”
The Women’s Aid helpline is free of charge and open 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1800 341 900