WARNING: This story discusses domestic violence.
Declaring from the onset, “I am a survivor of domestic violence, or IPV, intimate partner violence,” Melissa, 31, proceeds to give a courageous speech describing her harrowing experience. Having met her alleged perpetrator during a vulnerable time in her life, the Supergirl star says their relationship felt like a “railway freight train.”
Describing her alleged abuser as “charming, funny, manipulative [and] devious,” Melissa says her abuse began with emotional manipulation and her partner was often jealous whenever other men paid attention to her. He would look at her devices, ask her to change clothes whenever others paid attention to her, and got angry whenever she filmed romantic scenes on Supergirl or her other projects.
This pattern of behaviour and domestic violence eventually resulted in Melissa “turning down auditions, job offers, test deals and friendships, because [she] didn’t want to hurt him.”
She goes on to describe the first instance of physical violence, which occurred five months in their relationship and involved her alleged abuser allegedly throwing a smoothie at her face. This was just the first of a number of incidents that followed a pattern in which her alleged abuser would put her in a bathtub, turn the faucet on, leave the room, and then later return to apologise.
Melissa says she stayed because “Deep down [she] never believed he would change, [she] just fooled myself into thinking [she] could help him” and describes how she ended up becoming violent in order to defend herself, saying “I changed and I’m not proud of how I changed.”
The Supergirl star says a turning point came when her alleged abuser allegedly threw a phone at her face and caused serious injury to her face and iris. She tried to cover up her injuries by attributing it to her clumsiness, but she soon managed to gather the courage to confide in a friend about her partner’s behaviour and the domestic violence she was experiencing, saying “The more people I let in, the more I was bolstered.”
The alleged abuser is never named and Melissa only describes him as being younger than her and “his immaturity obvious.” She was previously married to actor Blake Jenner, 27, for a year and is now married to actor Chris Wood, 31.
At the conclusion of her story, Melissa states how “none of this is salacious news” and she wanted to tell everyone about her experience because of how domestic violence and IPV are chronically underreported crimes, saying:
“I want those statistics to change, and I hope that telling my story will prevent more stories like this from happening.
“If you are enduring what I went through and you see this, you might be able to find the tiny straw that will break the camel’s back.”
Melissa Benoist is incredibly courageous in coming out with her story about being a domestic violence survivor and it deserves all our attention.
If you or someone you care about needs help, please call 1800RESPECT at 1800 737 732.