Melissa Benoist currently portrays one of the Arrowverse's strongest heroes on The CW's Supergirl, but she recently inspired people in a profound way by sharing her experience with domestic violence. On Wednesday, Benoist shared a heartfelt and emotional video to Instagram's IGTV, in which she reveals that she is a survivor of domestic violence (also known as intimate partner violence or IPV). Benoist recounted the physical, emotional, and psychological effect that the situation had on her life, as well as the "long and winding road of healing and reconciliation" that she is currently on. Benoist's account received overwhelming support from fans and co-stars on social media, with #IStandWithMelissa being one of the trending topics on Twitter on Wednesday. Among those speaking out are Chris Wood, Benoist's former Supergirl costar and real-life husband. Wood tweeted that he's going to spend Thanksgiving, as well as every day, "[kissing his] wife and [holding] her tenderly."
Happy Thanksgiving! I’m going to kiss my wife and hold her tenderly. All day. And every day. How do YOU show love? #IStandWithMelissa— Chris Wood (@CHRIStophrWOOD) November 28, 2019
Benoist's video, which is titled "Life Isn't Always What it Seems", recounts the course of the relationship that she had from her abuser, which grew from attention and love to significant emotional and physical abuse. While Benoist's video does not mention her abuser by name, fans have begun to figure out a potential timeline for events, especially from one incident that left her eye permanently damaged. In an interview with Jimmy Fallon in 2016, Benoist recounted a similar incident that was caused by her "clumsiness". (Disguising abuse as an accident or acts of clumsiness are common mechanisms used by IPV survivors.)
Benoist closes out the video by noting how under-reported IPV is, and offering hope that her video will help other victims realize that they can "live a violence-free life".
"I choose to love. I don't choose to minimize my life out of fear," Benoist says in her video. "I choose to love myself, to know that love does not include violence and to let victims know that there is a way out in which you will be protected. If you are enduring what I went through and you see this maybe you will find this tiny straw that will break the camel's back or at least you might begin to think of your freedom in which case I am here. I am with you and you can and deserve to live a violence-free life."
If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs assistance and support, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). The hotline is available 24/7/365 to speak confidentially with anyone experiencing domestic violence, seeking resources or information, or questioning unhealthy aspects of their relationship.
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