Glee and Supergirl actress Melissa Benoist has opened up about the domestic abuse she suffered in a previous relationship in an emotional 14-minute video titled, ‘life isn’t always what it seems’.
The 31-year-old goes into shocking detail about what she suffered, describing how she experienced months of IPV – intimate partner violence – which began as emotional manipulation, before escalating into extreme violence.
“Work in general was a touchy subject,” she 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 and friendships, because I didn’t want to hurt him.”
She describes being dragged by her hair across the ground, choked and being slammed against the wall so hard that the drywall broke, saying she stayed because she fooled herself into thinking she could help him.
“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.
“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 behaviour wasn’t OK, and who better than the one he was taking it out on?”
She says the final straw came when he threw an iPhone at her face, allegedly tearing her iris and breaking her nose, leaving her having to wear an eye patch. She says she initially lied to medical professionals and the police about how she got the injuries before she eventually confided in friends and sought help.
Following releasing the video and telling her story, Melissa took to Instagram to share the statistics that 1 in 4 women are affected by IPV. “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,” she wrote.
If you or someone you know needs help or advice, contact the Australian helpline 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732).