Supergirl star Melissa Benoist revealed on Wednesday that she is a survivor of domestic violence or IPV, intimate partner violence. In an emotional 14-minute video shared to her Instagram account, the actress candidly spoke about her experience with emotional and physical abuse in a past relationship, detailing the abuse she endured for months and encouraging others to seek help.
“I am a survivor of domestic violence, or IPV, intimate partner violence, which is something I never in my life expected I would say, let alone be broadcasting into the ether,” Benoist began.
Never naming her abuser, Benoist described him as a "magnanimous person” who “could be charming, funny, manipulative [and] devious,” and said that their relationship “was a zero to 60 catapult.”
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Benoist went on the explain that the abuse began as emotional manipulation, with the unnamed man “snooping on her devices,” criticizing what she wore, and becoming angry when she spoke to other men.
“Work in general was a touchy subject,” Benoist said. “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, friendships, because I didn’t want to hurt him.”
Five months into their relationship, the abuse escalated to physical violence when her partner allegedly threw a smoothie at her face.
“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 said, adding that she developed a good “poker face” and remained in the relationship out of fear of what would happen to him.
“Deep down I never believed he would change, I just fooled myself into thinking I could help him... Someone had to let him know his behavior wasn't OK, and who better than the one he was taking it out on?" she said.
It wasn’t until he threw an iPhone at her face, which tore her iris, nearly ruptured her eyeball, tore skin, and broke her nose, an injury that forever altered her vision, that she decided to confide in a close friend.
“The more people I let in, the more I was bolstered," she said, revealing that she soon ended the relationship.
“None of this is salacious news, it was my reality. What I went through caused a tectonic shift in my outlook on life,” Benoist, who is currently married to Chris Wood, continued, adding that she chose to share her story in the hopes of “empowering others.”0comments
“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,” she said. “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.”