“Supergirl” star Melissa Benoist said in an Instagram video Wednesday that she is a survivor of domestic violence.
In a more than 14 minute video, Benoist said that she was “quite nervous” before stating, “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 does not name her alleged abuser but said he is younger than her and described him as a “magnanimous person,” who could be charming, funny, manipulative and devious.
She said she met him at a time in her life when she was newly single and not romantically interested in him. She said the two were friends at first and once they started dating, it was a “0 to 60 catapult.”
“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.”
She said “the abuse was not violence at first.” He was “snooping on her devices,” would tell her to change clothes he found too revealing and exhibited jealousy.
Work in general was a touchy subject, she said, because her job as an actress would require her to perform intimate scenes. She says she began to turn down auditions, job offers and friendships because she did not want to hurt him.
“In retrospect, I see that each red flag followed a very clear path on the way to things becoming violent because violence is so often preceded by mental, emotional, verbal and psychological abuse, which are all very sneaky things,” she said.
The first incident of violence occurred five months into the relationship, when she says he threw a smoothie at her face, and escalated from there.
“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 ’til my skin broke, shoved into a wall so hard the drywall broke, choked,” she said.
Benoist said she learned to lock herself in rooms, but stopped “because the door was inevitably broken down.”
And in some “subconscious effort” to wash the both of them clean, she said after a violent attack the alleged abuser would carry her, put her in an empty bathtub and turn on the faucet before leaving the room. She said he would later return, kneel beside the tub “crying self-hating tears” with her and apologize.
She said a turning point occurred when the partner threw an iPhone at her face. The impact tore her iris and nearly ruptured her eyeball, lacerated her skin and broke her nose, she said. Her left eye swelled shut and she had a fat lip following the attack. The injury forever altered her vision, Benoist said.
“This wasn’t going to be easy to hide, let alone fix and something inside of me broke,” she said. “This was too far. I couldn’t flush this one down with the tug of the drain.”
She said she initially lied about how she got the injuries, but later confided in a friend who had questioned if Benoist was being abused.
“Luckily, the people I let in, the more I was bolstered,” she said. “And I never lost the sense of clarity that kept telling me, ‘You do not deserve this.'”
Benoist said she then broke off relations with the partner.
“Breaking that cycle was the most rewarding and empowering choice I have ever made for myself,” she said. “I will be healing from this for the rest of my life, and that’s OK.”
She concluded by saying she hoped sharing her story would help others break the cycle of violence.
“Sadly IPV is one of the most chronically underreported crimes in the country,” Benoist said. “I want those statistics to change and I hope that telling my story might help prevent more stories like mine from happening.”
Benoist did not immediately return a request for comment Wednesday.