#WhyIStayed: Women Speak Out After Ray and Janay Rice Controversy

Beverly Gooden, a former victim of domestic violence, sparked a conversation online about why it's difficult for women to leave.
9:17 | 09/10/14

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Transcript for #WhyIStayed: Women Speak Out After Ray and Janay Rice Controversy
on the other side of the ray rice story, his wife and the millions that are victims of domestic violence. Many wondering why she could stay with him. And Beverly Gooden's powerful response, #whyistayed, is creating a viral movement. We're going to talk to her and Dr. Phil in a moment. First, here's ABC's Ryan smith. Reporter: The haunting images. A national wake-up call. Janay rice knocked out cold, by then-fiancee, ray rice. The tape, costing rice his livelihood. But sticking by his side, the victim, Janay, his wife. This is our life. Just know we will continue to grow and show the world what real love is. In may, Janay, shouldering some of the blame. I deeply regret the role I played in the incident that night. Reporter: And some ask how she could defend the football star, others like Beverly Gooden, firing off tweets, listing the many reasons it took her a year to leave all her own abuser. All ending with the #whyistayed. He said he would change. I believed him. He lied. Gooden's post, sparking an avalanche of comments. Because every time was the last time. #Whyistayed. And because I was pregnant. And wanted my daughter to have a dad. #Whyistayed. The viral hash tag, and now the infamous tape, igniting a coast-to-coast conversation, on the topic. I would never stay with a man that did that to me. She can be a positive role model for women going through similar situations. Abused women often stay in the relationship and blame themselves. Reporter: It's far from a new issue. It's estimated that 25% of American women experience domestic violence. Statistics show it takes an average of seven attempts for a victim to leave the abuser. It's a horrible decision to make. In 75% of cases, of domestic violence, the most traumatic and the most dangerous time in the relationship the not when she stays. It's when she leaves. Reporter: For "Good morning America," Ryan smith, ABC news, New York. Joining us now is the creator of that #whyistayed, Beverly Gooden. And Dr. Phil Mcgraw, the host of "The Dr. Phil show," who has testified on capitol hill, about domestic violence. We are looking forward to having this important discussion. Thank you both. It is an important discussion. And people are starting to understand what Beverly's talking about here because the truth is, separation assault is a phenomenon that occurs when you attempt to leave the abuser and even the two or three weeks after. And there are more fatal injuries and serious injuries during that time than any other. And I would hate to see this debate spark people into saying, I need to get up and leave because there's a right way and a wrong way to do it. And we're going to talk about that. I'm glad you're bringing that up, Dr. Phil. Beverly, there's a lot of women watching this morning that are in an abusive relationship. And it took you many times to be able to leave your ex-husband. So, you understand. Yes, I do understand. Yeah. Just talk about how many times it took you and why. The first time I tried to leave him, he laid down in front of the door. The door to our apartment and slept there the whole night so I couldn't get out. I didn't leave. The main reason I didn't leave, and I think this is underestimated a lot, is because I loved him. I loved him. I believed in him. I believed what he said when he said he wouldn't do it again. I trusted him. I was afraid of him. All of these reasons are invalidated a lot in the public eye, as bad reasons why you stay. Fear is real. You know, I was afraid of him because of the abuse. I was afraid if he would hurt me after I left. And all those things are valid. And staying, although it may seem like a bad decision, sometimes it's the only decision a woman can make. We've been asking people to write in. They've said something similar to what you said. When you see this, the world, a lot of people say, that woman is stupid. That's the word people are using online. Fear, as you talked about -- you talked about this. You counseled people. What do you say? We have a huge commitment to this on "The Dr. Phil show." And my wife's foundation is devoted 100% to domestic violence. And the things that she said that her husband said, these are the top-ten reasons that abusers -- they're not novel. They come up with them every time to keep them there. And the number one tool of the abuser is isolation. They cut you off from family, friends, church, others that can give you support and help you. And so, you're left alone. And they take away the phone. They take away money. And abuse is not just physical. It's all of the erosion of self-worth and self-esteem. What do you do? As you said, there are startling statistics that sometimes it's more dangerous to leave than to stay. The abuser panics. I'm losing control. And the number one rule needs to be safety. I would hate for this debate to spur women to just jump up and either confront their abuser or leave without a plan. Number one rule is safety for you and your children. Have a plan. And go about that plan. And we developed something call the aspire initiative, which we'll give you a link to. That talks about the steps you need safety-wise, the planning to get out and get out safely. It's not just get out. It's get out safely for you and your children. And how did you do that? I started to go, secretly, on to domestic violence websites. The national ones specifically. And they give you a list of things to do to be able to get out. One is to start to save money. In secret, if you have to. And that's what I did. I started to save money. Just a few dollars here and there. To create a bag, with clothing and toiletries and any personal items that you need. Any heirlooms or things important to you. Keep it in a bag, hidden away, in a place he won't look. If at any given moment, you need to grab that bag, you have everything you need. These are practical solutions. And I have to say this, too. People were saying in the case of Janay rice, her husband is a multimillionaire. There's all these people that are saying these things. And women from all walks of life find themselves in this situation, Dr. Phil. It doesn't matter if you're with a multimillionaire or not because the abuser tells their partners, nobody wants you. There's nowhere to go. They criminal all of the money, whether it's a little bit or a lot. And so, it just seems overwhelming, which is why women need to know, if you pick up the phone and call the national domestic violence hot line or the national network, these organizations, they listen. They won't force you. They won't pressure you. Nobody's going to make you give your name. You can call and get help and support. Don't feel alone because it's not out there. I know robin's foundation created this aspire app, which is something that can go on your phone. And with a tap of a button, it sends out messages to five or six people you designate that says, I need help, get here now. Even if they're not ready to call the police, they can send a message to their mother or whoever, come help me. Don't leave me alone. That's information we need to share with our viewers now. How are you doing now? I'm four years removed from leaving. And the reason I started the hash tag was to give voice to the people out there who had that voice taken away. To give voice to them for them to be able to speak their mind. I think what bothered me most was that the question was, why did she stay? Not why did he hit her? You know, as if -- and we do this across the board, with violent situations. We do this with domestic violence, saying why did she stay? We do it with rape, why did she wear that? As if your clothing or your mere presence gives someone the right to hurt you. I think I really want to change the conversation from, why did she stay, to why did he abuse? And you are doing that with that simple hash tag. In the time we have remaining. You're about to start your 13th season. Can you believe that? I know. You and I have known each other a long time. The current issues. Things that are in the news. We focus on those things. Today, we're talking about the David Barajas story. The man whose children were killed by a drunk driver on the road. And a shot rang out. And the driver was killed. And he got acquitted a few days ago. We have the exclusive interview with him. Moral dilemma for parents. What would you do if someone ran over and killed your children? And Friday, the story you all covered so well, the squatter nanny. We have the nanny and the homeowner together, face-to-face. Dr. Phil, thank you for being here. Beverly, good for you. And thank you for starting and continuing the dialogue. Good for you. Thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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