When security footage emerged that showed NFL star, Ray Rice, full-on punching out his then-fiancée, Janay Rice, it made many wonder why Janay would choose to remain with her abusive husband.
Then, Twitter users from around the world gave us the answers.
All day Tuesday, tweets from domestic violence survivors flooded the social network under the hashtags, #WhyIStayed and #WhyILeft. Women and men alike rushed to Janay’s defense, sharing the fears and insecurities they had experienced in their own violent relationships and showing us exactly why it’s so hard to break free of the dangerous cycle domestic abuse can create. It turns out, Janay’s defense of her husband’s actions is typical of someone in an abusive relationship. Victims of domestic violence often suffer from “Battered Woman Syndrome,” a condition that makes them stay in unsafe relationships for a myriad of reasons. Janay’s decision to stay isn’t her fault, and she — and so many others who are suffering like she is — needs our support.
By Tuesday afternoon, #WhyIStayed had been used more than 50,000 times. Here are some of the most gasp-worthy tweets from the movement — the ones that painfully illustrate what Janay Rice and so many others endure in the face of domestic violence.
If you or someone you know needs help to escape domestic violence, please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 to talk with a trained advocate 24/7.
#whyistayed When I disclosed to someone I trusted that I thought the next time I might die they said 'you have made your bed now lie in it'
— Gemma Dunning (@gemmadunning) September 9, 2014
I was told marriage is forever. I didn’t want to be a failure #whyistayed
— Jessica Merrell (@jmillermerrell) September 9, 2014
— karolyn gehrig (@karolynprg) September 10, 2014
— Joni McColley (@JoniMcColley) September 9, 2014
#WhyIStayed I knew what he was capable of ~ when he said he would kill me I knew he would. Being afraid is not a fault it is survival.
— Kathy (@cormick_k) September 10, 2014
"Because at least I could keep him from hurting my baby while I was there" — My Mom. #WhyIStayed
— Lara Maierhofer (@laramhofer) September 10, 2014
We fought. I'd lock myself in the guest room, and he'd sleep on the floor in the hallway all night to make sure I didn't leave. #WhyIStayed
— Nicole (@nicki_van) September 10, 2014
I was 17 when I met him. In the beginning, it only happened when he'd been drinking a lot. I blamed it on the alcohol.
— SOS_USA (@KattNasty) September 10, 2014
Because no one believed me #WhyIStayed
— Amanda Woolston MSS LSW (@AmandaTDA) September 10, 2014
He said he'd take my son & leave. The 2 disappeared for over a week after my first attempt. I never threatened to leave again #WhyIStayed
— Victoria Strong (@vicki_strong339) September 10, 2014