Actress Melissa Benoist has taken to her Instagram to speak out against domestic abuse and open up about her own experience of IPV. In an Instagram live feed, the Supergirl actress said: “I am a survivor of domestic violence”. She then spoke in detail about the partner who abused her: “He was a magnanimous person, who didn’t really give you a choice not to be drawn to him. He could be charming, funny, manipulative, devious. He was younger than me, his immaturity obvious. He became a friend. And then once we started dating, it was a 0-60 catapult.”
Melissa then spoke in-depth about how the abuse escalated from verbal and emotional abuse into physical violence. “There was a lot of jealousy, he was snooping on devices. There was anger when I spoke to another man. I had to change clothes often before we went out because he didn’t want people looking at me. He didn’t want me kissing or having flirtatious scenes with men, which was very hard for me to avoid so I began turning down auditions, job offers, friendships because I didn’t want to hurt him.”
The 31-year-old US actress, who plays Kara Danvers — aka Supergirl — on the CW television network show, posted an emotional 14-minute Instagram video Wednesday night captioned “Life Isn’t Always What It Seems.” She did not name the partner who allegedly abused her, but described him as “a magnanimous person” who “could be charming, funny, manipulative (and) devious.” According to Benoist, who is married to her Supergirl co-star Chris Wood, the abuse from a previous relationship started as emotional manipulation before spiraling into physical violence.
In her message to her 3.8 million Instagram followers, Benoist recalled the first assault, during which she said her partner threw a smoothie at her face. Fighting back tears she continued to share more graphic details, telling fans.: “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, headbutted, pinched till my skin broke, shoved into a wall so hard the drywall broke, choked.” She added: “I learned not to value myself.”
Soon after Benoist shared her story, the hashtag #IStandWithMelissa began gaining traction on Twitter, with fans commending her for her bravery. “Supergirl” co-creator Ali Adler wrote on Twitter: “If it can happen to #SUPERGIRL it can happen to anyone. So proud of @MelissaBenoist for speaking about her experience.”