One in four women and one in seven men will be victims of intimate partner violence in their lives. However, much of this violence goes unreported. Only 25% of physical assaults against women are reported to the police each year.
Even Supergirl has experienced domestic violence. For the first time, actress Melissa Benoist opened up about her own experiences with domestic violence on her Instagram page. In a 14-minute video, Benoist spoke about her abusive relationship, which she compared to a "runaway freight train."
Benoist didn't name the partner who was abusive, but said he was younger than she was. "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," she said.
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Benoist said the relationship was "not violent at first," but he would get jealous and spy on her devices or make her change clothes before she went out. After five months, he became violent.
"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 said. "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."
Benoist's partner threw an iPhone at her face, which permanently altered her vision. "The impact tore my iris, nearly ruptured my eyeball, lacerated my skin and broke my nose," she said. "My left eye swelled shut. I had a fat lip … Something inside of me broke, this was too far."
After speaking with a friend, Benoist decided to leave the relationship. "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 said. "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.'"
Ultimately, Benoist decided to share her story so others won't have to experience what she did. "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's current husband, actor Chris Wood, tweeted out a message of support after his wife shared her story.
Other celebrities and fans were supportive of Benoist, sharing messages of support using the hashtag #istandwithmelissa.
Benoist's powerful story is a reminder that you never really know what someone might going through. No matter how great someone's life looks on the outside, they might be going through hell on the inside.