On Wednesday, the Supergirl actress revealed that she is a survivor of domestic violence after enduring months of abuse from a younger romantic partner

By Helen Murphy
November 29, 2019 01:48 PM
Melissa Benoist and Chris Wood
Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

Melissa Benoist‘s husband Chris Wood is praising the actress after she publicly revealed earlier this week that she is a survivor of domestic violence.

On Thursday, Wood, 31, used the viral hashtag #IStandWithMelissa in a tweet wishing his followers a happy Thanksgiving. Social media users have been tweeting the hashtag as a sign of support for Benoist after her emotional video on Wednesday.

“Happy Thanksgiving! I’m going to kiss my wife and hold her tenderly,” he tweeted. “All day. And every day. How do YOU show love?”

In a lengthy, emotional video on Instagram on Wednesday, the Supergirl actress, 31, revealed that she was a survivor of domestic violence after enduring months of abuse from a younger romantic partner.

“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 confessed in the video.

Melissa Benoist
Michael Loccisano/Getty

Throughout the video, Benoist did not name the alleged abuser. Benoist described her ex-partner as a “magnanimous person, who didn’t really give you a choice not to be drawn to him,” and said, “he could be charming, funny, manipulative, [and] devious.”

The actress claimed the abuse was “not violent at first” — noting how his behaviors primarily stemmed from jealousy where he would snoop on her electronic devices, get angry when she spoke to another male and force her to change clothes when she went out.

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Around five months into their relationship, Benoist said her partner’s actions started to become more violent and physical, with the first violent incident being a smoothie thrown at her face.

The actress admitted she never said anything about the violent encounter out of fear and shame and revealed that her partner continued to abuse her — disturbing experiences that Benoist went on to describe.

“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,” she revealed. “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.”

But it wasn’t until her partner allegedly threw an iPhone at her face, causing the star to suffer major injuries, that she realized that she had to take action, despite her fear and worry over doing so.

“The impact tore my iris, nearly ruptured my eyeball, lacerated my skin and broke my nose,” she recalled. “My left eye swelled shut. I had a fat lip … Something inside of me broke, this was too far.”

RELATED: Supergirl‘s Melissa Benoist Reveals She Is a Domestic Violence Survivor in Emotional Video

After lying to the nurses about her injuries at the hospital, Benoist said she confided in a friend who asked about her partner’s aggressive behaviors and finally made the difficult decision to leave him.

“Leaving was not a walk in the park. 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, [a] mournful feeling of leaving something familiar,” she explained. “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.’”

RELATED VIDEO: Supergirl’s Melissa Benoist and Blake Jenner Finalize Divorce

Finishing her emotional revelation, Benoist said she hopes by sharing her story, it will prevent others from enduring the same form of abuse — something she pointed out was experienced by one in four men and one in four women, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

“I want those statistics to change, and I hope that telling my story will prevent more stories like this from happening,” she said. “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.”

Benoist was previously married to her Glee costar Blake Jenner, 27, for a little over a year. She and Wood, who is her costar on Supergirl, reportedly wed over Labor Day weekend this year.

If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.

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