Harrowing stories of women who were victims of domestic abuse and stayed in those violent relationships are flooding social media today.
They're a response to disturbing video released of NFL star Ray Rice punching a woman who is now his wife in a casino elevator, a clip that encouraged other abuse victims to share their stories using the hashtag, #WhyIStayed.
"For over a year, I was physically abused by my husband," Beverly Golden, the woman who says she created the hashtag, wrote on her blog.
She says she wanted to address the questions she heard about Rice's wife, Janay Palmer Rice: "Why didn't she leave? Why did she marry him? Why did she stay?"
Janay Rice put an online statement today calling her husband "the man I love," decried the "unwanted" attention and declared on Instagram, "THIS IS OUR LIFE!"
Other women are sharing their own stories, and also explaining why they ultimately left those broken relationships with another hashtag, #WhyILeft. Here's what they have to say:
I was told marriage is forever. I didn’t want to be a failure #whyistayed— Jessica Merrell (@jmillermerrell) September 9, 2014
#whyistayed because he said he would kill himself if I left— Jenny Martin (@JennyMartin_UQ) September 9, 2014
#WhyIStayed because I didn't think I could do better. Surely he would get better if I just loved him enough, right?— Amanda Scoggin (@abscoggin) September 9, 2014
I was embarrassed to admit to myself & family that I was a victim. #whyistayed— Ahna Wyatt Adcox (@AhnaMatea) September 9, 2014
#whyistayed because I thought I was strong enough to fix things and make them better if I just tried harder, did more, and did it perfectly— CarmenMarstonFeinber (@marstonfeinberg) September 9, 2014
To actually be safe, leaving meant a new state, thousands of miles away for safety. Restarting my life by myself. Exhausting. #WhyIStayed— Rebecca Epstein (@Writes4Rights) September 9, 2014