Janay Rice Moves Women to Share Their Own Stories of Abuse

Photo: Patrick Semansky/AP

The video footage released this week of Ray Rice beating his then-fiancée spurred the NFL to finally terminate Rice’s contract. And it also spurred the classic questions that abuse victims face — such as, Why didn’t she leave? and Why is she staying? (Janay Rice, née Palmer, went on to marry Rice a month after the incident in the elevator.)

But Beverly Gooden, author of Confessions of a Church Girl, saw the situation through Janay’s eyes, which led her to start the Twitter hashtag #whyistayed. That sparked women to share heart-wrenching stories about staying in abusive relationships and the moments they decided to leave. We’ve rounded up ten of the most powerful tweets from the #whyistayed and #whyileft Twitter conversation.

I had to plan my escape for months before I even had a place to go and money for the bus to get there. #WhyIStayed

— Beverly Gooden (@bevtgooden) September 8, 2014

#whyistayed b/c he never hit me and I didn’t think verbal abuse and emotional manipulation was considered an abusive relationship.

— Kaman (@hellokaman) September 9, 2014

#WhyIStayed: because my word was the only evidence.

— Rachel McKibbens (@RachelMcKibbens) September 9, 2014

#whyistayed she was the mother of our kids & i didnt want ours in a broken home like I grew up in. #dv is genderless pic.twitter.com/X1nDgltA7E

— Darth HotMess (@Jedi_Daddy) September 9, 2014

#whyistayed: He told me “no one will ever love you like i do” #whyIleft: I realized that no one should ever “love” me like he did.

— kirin_rosemary (@kirin_rosemary) September 9, 2014

#Whyistayed you don’t get beaten everyday. you tell yourself, maybe the last time was the *last* time. #WhyIleft its never the last time

— Rae (@Goddess_Rae) September 9, 2014

#whyistayed It had to be my fault, something I said, buttons I pushed, right?? #whyileft was shown that love doesn’t hurt. It ISN’T normal.

— Jessica Zwolle (@jesszvan) September 10, 2014

#whyistayed I didn’t want to be alone again #whyileft I didn’t want to be alone in a casket

— ¾ Love ¼ Fierce (@SalinaSweet) September 10, 2014

#whyistayed I didn’t want to have a failed marriage at 25 #whyileft I didn’t want my daughter to think this was ok and normal

— Hoops (@Hoops2122) September 10, 2014

he took away access 2 our bank account when i made an error in our checkbook, 1st yr together, deposited all my paychecks there. #whyistayed

— NatashaChart (@NatashaChart) September 10, 2014

Janay Rice Moves Women to Share Their Stories