Domestic violence, or Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), is a poison that infects and destroys a soul. Along with the bruises, blood, and broken bones comes the extinguishing of the light that drives a person. One in four women and men have lived through domestic violence, and one in seven women have suffered injuries inflicted by their significant others. It is a disgusting rage–fueled by jealousy and cowardice–that affects the rich, middle class, and poor alike.
In the most recent case, it affects even those who entertain us on our television screens.
Early Wednesday afternoon, in a 14-minute video on her Instagram account, Supergirl star Melissa Benoist revealed that she is a domestic violence survivor. The video, located in the IGTV section on her account, features the actress bravely sitting before her phone and reading from her written, heartbreakingly detailed description of what she went through. She explained that the violence she suffered at the hands of her partner at the time began five months into the relationship. Below is an excerpt of what she went through:
“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… I learned to lock myself in rooms, but quickly stopped because the door was inevitably broken down. I learned not to value any of my property, replaceable or irreplaceable. I learned not to value myself.”
That is only a brief segment of the private hell Benoist thoroughly explains in her public confessional. She explains how she was unable to have romantic or flirtatious scenes in her work without painfully receiving her partner’s jealousy and anger. She passed up on roles due to what they called for and made up false stories in interviews to cover up the cause of her injuries. She recalls a vicious event where a phone was thrown at her face, causing severe damage to her eye and nose. Toward the end, Benoist reveals that she slowly began to inform those close to her of what she was experiencing. “The more people I let in, the more I was bolstered,” she said. She explains that she broke off the relationship soon after that.
Toward the end of her video, she states “none of this is salacious news, it was my reality. What I went through caused a tectonic shift in my outlook on life.”
To Melissa: this writer and the rest of the LRM team praise your courage in revealing the pain you suffered and the strength you found to escape it. You had already won us over as Kara Zor-El in our beloved DCEU. Now, you reveal yourself to be a true hero in real life as well. Moreover, you have become an inspiration for someone else who is suffering through the same hellacious ordeal at the hands of a cowardly, insecure attacker. Those in pain are seeing your video and are finding the strength to stand–just like you did. You are their helping hand. You are their superhero.
Now more than ever, you are Supergirl.
To those of you in crisis and in need of assistance, call the domestic violence hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Additionally, to learn how to raise awareness about domestic violence, visit futureswithoutviolence.org. Together, we can all be heroes and take a stand against every form of domestic violence.