RS (rainbowstevie) wrote,

  • Music:

This is not how I wanted to use this celebrity tag again.

So. There is a post on ONTD that has consumed my every waking thought for the past several hours about an Instagram video Melissa Benoist recently posted, in which she shared her story of being a domestic abuse victim. The abuser is not named (for legal reasons, I assume), but it could not be more blatantly clear it is her ex-husband. You know, that guy from the marriage I thought was the perfect story about chemistry that was too powerful to be contained to fictional characters, and that I was so sad to hear had ended. Big yikes there.

So, yeah. I thought, "Oh, I can handle this," but I started crying halfway and had to take a break. She speaks about it in the most heart-wrenching way, and what really gets me is the statement that he never made her feel like she deserved it, he was always tearful and "self hating" and remorseful and so she forgave and forgave (I would, too. I know I would) until he did permanent physical damage.

And the thing with me is that stories like this give me perspective. I’m sorry if this is uncool to admit, but so often when I hear about an abusive relationship, the guy seems to be loaded with red flags. I feel bad for the women because I know leaving isn’t as easy as it sounds, but part of me thinks, “Thank god that could never happen to me because I am judgmental as hell and categorize every man I meet by how surprised I would be to hear him accused of assault.” There will be some part of their story where I think, right, that would have ended it for me before the abuse started. Often before the relationship would have started.

But I didn’t have any of these thoughts about him. I swooned about him. I thought she was lucky. I had One doubt niggling at the back of my mind about the quality of his personhood, based on the rumor that he’d cheated on / dumped his girlfriend to pursue his costar, but I brushed it aside because…basically because they were pretty together. He was barely 20, and relationships before that age tend to fall apart anyway. Sometimes things fall apart to make way for better things, and all that. They always seemed like a delight when they did Glee press together and he always gave off the vibe that he thought he was lucky to be with her vs. the other way around. And I generally think it’s a good thing when someone wants to Serious up a relationship via marriage, because most men are not abusive. So while I would not have put him in the "Above All Possible Reproach" category of man, I sure as hell would have whirlwind-married and adopted dogs with him.

So listening to her describe in unflinching detail how it all went from Fine to Not gutted me, because I could see it, for the first time, how it happens from someone you (I) would never suspect. And also why you wouldn’t quit at the first or even the tenth blatantly textbook warning sign. It’s a very different experience from knowing it in theory. This is why I watch movies where my faves are the bad guys, because I have to see to believe in my gut that I am not immune to a handsome face with the potential to be threatening/harmful, and remind myself that that’s what those women all feel before it goes south, no matter how obviously trash I may think their partners look or sound.

In conclusion, I don’t know how to say any of this the right way because my head’s been spinning about it for hours. All I can think is how freaking glad I am for her that Supergirl has been such a success, how much more she deserves, and how brave she is for sharing this.

(Side note: the reason we can all agree on who it is is that she describes a very specific cover story they came up with for her injury, which she shared on a talk show. I watched the talk show clip second and I about vomited when she made a specific joke about her appearance that, in the Instagram video, she attributes to a quip her partner made about it. The one who caused it in the first place.)

Edit: Still uneasy and fretful about it. I just checked out an obscene number of books from the library, but now I'm thinking maybe I need to process this further in a safe, fictional context. Ironically, I only just quit on and returned Bad Romance, but I don't think it's worth trying again for this because LORD was that boyfriend the archetype of the "how were you even attracted to him in the first place" problem. But I'm wondering if a reread of Bitter End would be. I'm not even gonna try to hunt this scenario in the wide world of adult fiction, because I'm just gonna get a bunch of romance novel results about women being saved from their abusers by new guys, but if one ever falls into my lap I guess I know what to do with it.

Tags: melissa benoist

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