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Comedian Beth Stelling Writes About Being Abused and Raped by Ex-Boyfriend

by Emily Krauser 4:57 PM PST, December 28, 2015
Playing Comedian Beth Stelling Writes About Being Abused and Raped by Ex-Boyfriend

Beth Stelling is one brave woman.

The comedian took to Instagram on Monday to say that she had been physically and verbally abused and raped by an ex-boyfriend, whom she did not name.

"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," she wrote next to a photo showing bruises on her arms and legs. "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."

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"It's embarrassing. I feel stupid. After being verbally, physically abused and raped, I dated him for two more months. It's not simple," she added.

Stelling went on to explain that for months she abided by her ex's wishes to not speak directly of him on stage, as both of them live in Los Angeles. Not only would people figure out who she was talking about in her act, she also didn't want to "start a war, press charges, be interrogated or harassed by him or his friends and family."

"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," she explained. "It's how I make my living. My personal is my professional. That is how I've always been; I make dark, funny."

Importantly, the Ohio native noted that even though she was publicly bringing such a difficult subject to light, she doesn't want this to be her only story. "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," she said.

You can read her full 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

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The comedy community has rallied behind Stelling with supportive status updates on Facebook and words of encouragement on Twitter, many of which lauded her bravery for speaking out.

A few hours after her original post, Stelling shared a photo of herself with comedian Sam Morril, explaining that she wasn't bashing all men. "And just to be clear, there are wonderful men in this world," she wrote on Instagram. "@sammorril was a friend to me getting out of my last relationship, he listened, made me laugh, comforted me."

Stelling kicked her career off in Chicago before moving to L.A. in 2011. She released her second comedy album, Simply the Beth, in October, and has been featured on Conan, Jimmy Kimmel Live and Comedy Central.

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