Comedian Writes About Abusive Relationship In Moving Instagram Post

On Monday afternoon, comedian Beth Stelling posted a jarring image on Instagram. In it, there are four photos: three of them show her bruised legs and arms, and in the fourth she’s smiling, performing onstage. 

“Same girl in all of these photos (me),” wrote Stelling under the image. “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, who has appeared on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and has a special on Comedy Central, went on to describe the abusive relationship she got out of last summer, and the shame and fear that surrounds opening up about the realities of such a relationship — especially when your ex is a part of your professional community.

“It’s embarrassing,” she wrote. “I feel stupid. After being verbally, physically abused and raped, I dated him for two more months. It’s not simple.” (Read the full, powerful post below.)

Same girl in all of these photos (me). 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. You may be weirded out but do read on. I have a point. 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 I broke up with my ex this summer, it wasn't because I didn't love him, it was because of this. And I absolutely relapsed and contacted him with things I shouldn’t have, but there are no “best practices” with this. 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. 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." 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. 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. It's not my only story, so please don't let it be. If you live in L.A., you've already started to hear my jokes about this and I ask you to have the courage to listen and accept it because I’m trying. 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. Then there was another and another (men and women) who shared other injustices at his hand that..

A photo posted by Beth Stelling (@bethstelling) on Dec 28, 2015 at 9:30am PST

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Stelling also wrote about why she finally chose to speak about her abusive relationship publicly:

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… 

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.

Since Stelling posted her story on Instagram, she has received an outpouring of public love and support.

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Words matter. Stories matter. Thank you for sharing yours, Beth Stelling. 

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