Comedian Beth Stelling Speaks Up In Instagram Post Revealing Abusive Relationship
Comedian Beth Stelling has been killing it this year. From the release of her Comedy Central Half Hour to her stand-up album Simply the Beth, she’s shown her immeasurable talent, making comedy that exudes charm and warmth while simultaneously roasting the darker parts of the human experience.
While it’s common for comedians to exploit their personal lives in joke-form on stage, sharing personal experiences in a straightforward and vulnerable way can be a lot scarier. Yesterday Stelling posted pictures of her bruised legs on Instagram , along with a sincere detailing of the abuse endured during her last relationship, stressing the fact that this is not only her story — abuse is everywhere and exposing it is risky and often met with backlash and stigma.
I think it’s incredibly strong of her to open herself up in this way to the public. It’s already empowering other women and men to come forward with their stories and not feel silenced by shame.
You can see and read the full post here:
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..
What’s been nearly as inspiring as Stelling’s original post is the large outpouring of support from comedians, friends and peers across the country, sharing Stelling’s story and sometimes relating their own similar stories of abuse.
It’s important to see solidarity when trauma is brought to light, as it will hopefully encourage more victims to open up about their experiences and seek help when needed.
All my love and solidarity to Beth for opening up this painful part of her life, and extending the awareness and conversation into the light.