“I am a survivor of domestic violence, or IPV, intimate partner violence,” she declares upfront before providing details of her experience.
Benoist describes meeting the alleged perpetrator when she had just gotten out of a relationship and wasn’t eager to get into another. She became friends with him, she says, and they started dating. But the relationship immediately felt like a “runaway freight train.” The abuse, she says, began as emotional manipulation, and that her partner was often jealous, read private messages and email on her her devices, became angry when she spoke to other men, demanded she change clothes so other men wouldn’t look at her and got upset when she did romantic scenes.
“He didn’t want me ever kissing or even having flirtatious scenes with men, which was very hard for me to avoid, so I began turning down auditions, job offers, test deals and friendships, because I didn’t want to hurt him.” She said.
Benoist never names the abuser and only describes him as “younger.”
According to her video, the violence first occurred five months into the relationship when he allegedly threw a smoothie at her face. Like many women in her situation, she kept it a secret out of fear of more abuse and “reluctance to admit” it was happening to her. “I learned what it felt like to be pinned down and slapped repeatedly, punched so hard I felt the wind go out of me, dragged by my hair across pavement, head-butted, pinched until my skin broke, slammed against the wall so hard the drywall broke, choked,” she said. When she locked herself in rooms, she said, the door was broken down, and she learned not to value property or “myself.”
After attacks, the alleged abuser would force her into a bathtub, turn on the faucet, and the room. The perpetrator would later return and apologize. Like many abused women, she was hesitant to leave.
“Deep down I never believed he would change, I just fooled myself into thinking I could help him… Someone had to let him know his behavior wasn’t OK, and who better than the one he was taking it out on?”
Benoist then says she, herself, became violent to fend off the attacks: “I changed and I’m not proud of how I changed.”
A turning point occurred when the partner threw an iPhone at her face, allegedly tearing her iris to the point where it nearly ruptured her eyeball and breaking her nose, an injury such that her vision changed forever. She lied to the nurses and police about how she got the injuries but soon mustered the courage to be able to confide in a friend who asked her about her partner’s controlling behavior. “The more people I let in, the more I was bolstered,” she said. She says she then broke off relations with the partner.
“None of this is salacious news, it was my reality. What I went through caused a tectonic shift in my outlook on life.” She says,
In conclusion, she says she wanted to tell her story because IPV is a “chronically underreported crime.” According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in four women and one in four men have experienced some kind of violence from their partners; one in seven women and one in 25 men have been injured by their partners. “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.”
During appearances, Benoist often claimed she was “accident-prone.”