Last week, Chris Hardwick was accused of emotional abuse and sexual assault by his ex-girlfriend, Chloe Dykstra. She didn’t name him, but readers were easily able to connect the dots.
Hardwick strongly denied the horrifying accusations, which included claims of intensely controlling behavior, of using her sexually, of sickening emotional manipulation, and of working to end her career after their breakup.
Now that a week has passed, Chloe is opening up about what the powerful responses to her story meant to her.
"It’s been an intense couple of days," Chloe writes on Instagram. "I have a few final words to say before moving forward. The link is in my bio. Sending love to all."
That link leads to Twitter, where Chloe prefaces her lengthy and heartfelt words.
"Thank you all," she tweets. "From the bottom of my heart."
This is when her actual message begins.
"Thank you all so, so much, Chloe writes. "The outpouring of support and love I’ve received over the past few days has been incredible and unexpected."
Unexpected because so many women who accuse famous, popular men of misdeeds end up villified, harassed, threatened, and even doxxed by angry fans.
"The people who have come forward with both stories validating mine," Chloe writes, she sends her thanks.
Many on social media responded by saying that they had been through an experience similar to the one that she described.
In addition to the validation, Chloe appreciates the people who sent "stories of their own personal experiences."
That, she reveals, had a powerfully positive impact on her.
Chloe writes that those personal accounts "have helped me immensely with my own healing process."
It can be powerfully therapeutic to realize that you are truly not alone in your experiences.
"After years of therapy and rebuilding," Chloe writes. "Your support has done so much more for me than all of it combined."
That makes sense, though we hope that her therapist doesn’t take it personally.
She is referring to a widespread phenomenon in which those who have been abused — whether it’s emotional abuse or brutal violence — second-guess their own experiences and almost try to convince themselves that what they describe wasn’t half bad.
Part of that is society’s pressures for survivors to keep silent. Part of that is the mind games that abusers play with their victims. Part of that is just human survival instincts run amok, basically.
"This whole experience has opened my eyes to so much," Chloe’s post continues.
Chloe says that she has learned a lot, "and my heart goes out to those trapped in unhealthy or abusive relationships."
She has sympathies for those "who haven’t found the strength to leave" these toxic situations.
That might sound victim-blamey, but it takes a tremendous amount of strength to break through the fog of manipulation and threats in which many abusers trap their victims.
Chloe also acknowledges "those suffering in the workplace due to abuses of power or unfair treatment."
Not everyone can simply leave, and she knows that.
If you have a four-year-old child at home and you’re their only provider, you might grin and bear it as you get harassed or groped at work because you don’t feel like you have other options.
Her heart goes out to all of those people, "and especially to those that don’t feel their voice can be heard the way mine has."
Chloe Dykstra has fans and followers, despite the alleged efforts to ruin her career after her breakup.
"It is my hope, and it always was," Chloe writes. "That women and men on both sides of abuse will make changes to either protect themselves, or to stop the cycle of pain their own behavior can cause."
Honestly, stop being awful is a very modest request of abusers.
"These behaviors are insidious and often hard to spot," Chloe warns. "We make excuses for them and, bit by bit, we can lose ourselves entirely."
"Despite recent events," Chloe continues. "I hope that everyone personally affected by my story can to find their own closure."
Closure can be a key part of recovery. It’s not always possible, but it’s helpful.
She suggests that they might do so "through the support of loved ones and friends, the way I have."
Note that she doesn’t specifically identify family. She is probably very well aware that, for many people, family is the source of this nightmare, not the haven from it. That is so sad.
Chloe adds that "in addition, my heart goes out to those caught in the fallout."
Sometimes, when you call out something bad that someone did, you lose friends or make things uncomfortable with others.
Some people lose half of their family when they flee their abuser.
Chloe feels that, even though doing so was absolutely terrifying, coming forward with her accusations was a huge weight off of her shoulders.
"Having been able to lift from my shoulders that which was weighing me down," Chloe writes. "I’m ready to move forwards in my life, finally."
That is so beautiful.
And moving forward is precisely what she intends to do "instead of looking back with fear and sadness."
We wish her luck!