On Monday (Dec. 28), comedian Beth Stelling made a shocking reveal on Instagram, disclosing to followers that she had been abused and raped by her ex-boyfriend.
Stelling, who does not name her ex in the post, recently released a comedy album, Simply The Beth, and has a half-hour special on Comedy Central.
"I've had an amazing year and you've seen the highlights here, so these photos are an uncommon thing to share but not an uncommon issue," Stelling captioned a disturbing photo of her bruised limbs. "There are many reasons not to make an abusive relationship public, mostly fear. Scared of what people will think, scared it makes me look weak or unprofessional.
"When friends or comics ask why we broke up it's not easy or comfortable to reply; it doesn't seem like the appropriate thing to say at a stand-up show, a party or a wedding. It's embarrassing. I feel stupid. After being verbally, physically abused and raped, I dated him for two more months. It's not simple."
Stelling says that after their breakup, her ex asked her to "consider" his feelings regarding the abuse she suffered at his hands.
"After I broke up with him he said, 'You're very open and honest in your stand-up, and I just ask that you consider me when you talk about your ex because everyone knows who you're talking about,'" she wrote. "And I abided. I wrote vague jokes because we both live in L.A. and I didn't want to hurt him, start a war, press charges, be interrogated or harassed by him or his friends and family. I wanted to move on and forget because I didn’t understand."
In the end, Stelling decided she could no longer keep this dark secret to herself.
"I don't want revenge or to hurt him now, but it's unhealthy to keep this inside because my stand-up is pulled directly from my life. It's how I make my living. My personal is my professional. That is how I've always been; I make dark, funny. So now I'm allowing this to be part of my story."
Stelling has gained support from friends and fans alike since going public with her ordeal. "Already since talking about this onstage, many women have come to me after shows asking me to keep doing it. Men have shown their solidarity. An ex-girlfriend of this ex-boyfriend came to me and shared that she experienced the same fate."
Stelling has also received positive messages from famous friends on Twitter:
— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) December 28, 2015
— Questlove Gomez (@questlove) December 28, 2015
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) December 28, 2015
We couldn't agree more. You go, girl.
Learn more about gender-based violence, including dating violence, by visiting MTV’s Look Different.