Trigger warning for graphic descriptions of violence and domestic abuse.
Actress Melissa Benoist, in an open, vulnerable video, shared her experience of domestic abuse on Instagram in the hopes that sharing her story will be of help to others in a similar situation.
In a 14-minute video, the actress read out a prepared statement that she did not want to have to edit down for publishing. Benoist never names her abuser, but talks about how she entered the relationship, when the abuse began, and how she left. She goes into great detail about what attracted her to her abuser in the first place, and what the relationship was like.
The abuse, according to her, was not violent to begin with – it would manifest in jealousy, and controlling actions. She says that “none of that registered as abuse because I was worried about how he felt at that point.” About five months into the relationship, things escalated as her partner threw a smoothie at her face. Things from there grew steadily worse.
Benoist goes into graphic detail about the violence she underwent, though after every incident her abuser would place her into a tub and turn on the faucet as he left the room to collect himself. He would then return and apologize. “He never made me feel like he thought I deserved the beating,” she said, “which I guess eased my mind.”
The actress feared speaking out for his sake as much as hers. “I thought any consequences he would suffer if I exposed his behavior outweighed suffering through it,” she said. She said things would improve after she went for weeks without a physical incident when she thought things had gotten better.
The final straw came when he threw an iPhone at her face, which has caused permanent damage to her retina. She and her abuser came up with a fake story to tell the cops in the emergency room, but she later opened up to a friend, which helped her gain the strength to tell more people, and leave her partner.
Benoist talks about the state of IPV, or Intimate Partner Violence, and how 1 in 4 women are estimated to be affected. “I want those statistics to change, and I hope that telling my story will prevent more stories like this from happening,” she said. “If you are enduring what I went through and you see this, you might be able to find the tiny straw that will break the camel’s back.”
On a separate Instagram post, she posted the hotline number for domestic abuse (1800-799-SAFE (7233) and links to futureswithoutviolence.org.