The star of Supergirl posted a video Wednesday about her experiences with domestic violence—and it's not easy to watch. "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," says Melissa Benoist on Instagram, per NBC News. The 31-year-old describes her relationship with a younger man whose personality ran the gamut from "magnanimous" to "charming, funny, manipulative, [and] devious." Initial red flags, like him "snooping on her devices" and telling her to change outfits he found revealing—or expressing jealousy about intimate scenes that led her to turn down jobs—soon turned into physical violence.
After dating for five months, he tossed a smoothie at her face. Soon "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 'til my skin broke, shoved into a wall so hard the drywall broke, choked," says the actor, who also describes his apologies and "self-hating tears." When he threw an iPhone at her face and tore her iris, permanently affecting her vision, that did it. Benoist finally confided the truth in people and ended the relationship, per Variety. Now she can talk about it "without shame." She ends by advising people in similar relationships to call the domestic violence hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE. (Read more domestic violence stories.)