Melissa Benoist opened up about her experience with domestic violence in an emotional Instagram video.
Warning: The following content might be triggering for some people.
The Glee actress started the video by saying, “So I don’t normally do things like this but I’ve written something that I want to share, and I wanted it to stay my words and not have to edit it down for publishing. I’m gonna read it out loud, and I’m quite nervous so bear with me.”
Confessing further, “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 described her abuser “as a magnanimous person, who didn’t really give you a choice not to be drawn to him. He could be charming, funny, manipulative, devious.” Further saying, “He was younger than me, his maturity obvious. For a period of time, I wasn’t interested. I was newly single, gaining my bearing in a change in my life.”
“It’s still hard for me to dissect what I was thinking and feeling that kept me from stopping what felt like a runaway freight train. It didn’t matter that I had misgivings, whether or not he was the one, at the time, it felt very good how much he coveted me. How much he seemed to treasure who I was. He loved me. I thought I loved him, and I was going to make it work,” she continued.
Melissa further described the abuse by stating that he used to snoop on her phone calls and asked her to change her clothes. He also got angry when she used to do intimate scenes with other men for a film. The 31-year-old actress shared, “Work in general was a touchy subject. 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 added, “None of that registered as abuse, because I was worried about how he felt at that point, to even comprehend how it even affected me. In retrospect, I see that each red flag followed a very clear path on things becoming violent.”
Melissa continued, “The stark truth is I learned what it felt like to be pinned down and slapped repeatedly, punched so hard the wind was knocked out of me, dragged by my hair across pavement, head butted, pinched until my skin broke, shoved into a wall so hard the drywall broke, choked. I learned to lock myself in rooms but quickly stopped because the door was inevitably broken down. I learned to not value any of my property—replaceable and irreplaceable. I learned not to value myself.”
“I have changed and I’m not proud of how I changed. I became a person I could have never imagined lurked inside of me,” she expressed. “I was livid at what was happening and that fact that I was allowing it to out of the fear of failure. I experienced firsthand that violence begets violence and I started fighting back because rage is contagious.”
Continuing further, “I developed an astonishing poker face. Inwardly I was the ugliest version of myself I had ever known. I became unreliable, unprofessional, sometimes unreachable. There were stretches of weeks where I wouldn’t get out of bed for more than two hours a day. If you met me at this time. I was most likely friendly, just to the point of getting close and aloof to the point of getting cold.”
Adding, “Melissa in public put on a happy face and a healthy life, where as Melissa at home dropped the veneer and lived a nightmare in the middle of one never-ending dispute. Battle wounds and all.”
Furthermore, Benoist detailed the abuse she suffered, “It was a blow to my face with his iPhone. The impact tore my iris, nearly ruptured my eyeball, lacerated my skin and broke my nose. My left I swelled shut. I had a fat lip… Something inside of me broke, this was too far.”
The actress also opened up about leaving the toxic relationship and how difficult it was. “Leaving was not a walk in the park,” she shared. “It is not an event, it’s a process. I felt complicated feelings of guilt for leaving and for hurting someone I had protected for so long, and yes, mournful feeling of leaving something familiar. But luckily, the people I let in, the more I was bolstered, I never lost the sense of clarity that kept telling me, ‘You do not deserve this.'”
“Breaking that cycle was the most rewarding, empowering choice I’ve ever made for myself. I feel an enduring strength. I will be healing from this for the rest of my life,” Melissa concluded.
Moreover, the singer posted helplines on her Instagram to help other domestic abuse survivors.
Melissa is currently married to her Supergirl co-star Christopher Wood.
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