Actress Melissa Benoist took to Instagram on Wednesday to share her story of surviving domestic violence.
“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,” she said in a lengthy video post captioned “Life Isn’t Always What It Seems.”
In the video, the “Supergirl” star spoke candidly about experiencing emotional and physical abuse in a past relationship that escalated from jealous snooping to violence in about five months.
She explained how the unnamed former partner would check her devices and get angry when she spoke with other men.
“Work in general was a touchy subject,” said Benoist. “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.”
She also described some of the physical violence she experienced from the abuser, including an incident that resulted in a torn iris and a nearly ruptured eyeball, among other injuries.
Benoist explained how they “made up a flimsy story together” to explain those injuries (one she recounted during a 2016 late-night interview with Jimmy Fallon).
The actress added that, eventually, she fought back and “experienced firsthand that violence begets violence.”
“I became a person that I never could have imagined lurks inside of me because I was livid at what was happening,” she said, before detailing how she was able to make the decision to leave the relationship.
“Here’s the irony about enduring an ordeal like a violent relationship,” she said. “Inevitably, while terrible and irreparable damage is done to you, you build an impenetrable strength without realizing it.”
Toward the end of her message, Benoist discussed how intimate partner violence was “one of the most chronically underreported crimes in the country.”
“I want the statistics to change, and I hope that telling my story might help prevent more stories like mine from happening,” said Benoist.
After sharing the IGTV video, the actress posted an additional statement on Instagram thanking those who watched and urging those who need help to call 800-799-SAFE (7223), as well as a link to additional resources.
“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,” said Benoist.
“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.”