After surveillance video of Ray Rice abusing his then-fiancée, Janay Palmer Rice, surfaced on the Web September 8, people around the world took to Twitter to raise awareness about domestic violence.
I believe in storytelling. I believe in the power of shared experience. I believe that we find strength in community. That is why I created this hashtag.
It didn't take much time for other victims of domestic violence to begin sharing their personal, heartbreaking stories with the world using Twitter and the hashtags #WhyIStayed and #WhyILeft to project their voices.
The stories are both very eye-opening and heartbreaking. It's not every day you're able to comfortably voice something that's been greatly affecting your life to the world.
Check out some of the tweets below, starting with Beverly Gooden's.
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 because he isolated me from friends and family and I had no one to turn to when the abuse started — Lady Grim (@grim_mandy) September 9, 2014
Because I deserve more than a low life who pushes girls around to feel better #whyILeft — FefeGoesRogue (@FefeGoesRogue) September 9, 2014
because i thought if i loved him enough he would stop being abusive #whyistayed. because i knew he would kill me eventually #whyileft — Allison O'Connor (@yurhuckleberry) September 9, 2014
Because I am a strong, independent woman who finally realized she deserved better. #whyileft — Kim Fornall (@Kimberwe88) September 9, 2014
I needed a roof over my son's head #WhyIStayed but I didn't want my son to learn that violence was acceptable #whyileft — Laurice Grae-Hauck (@LAFwithAidan) September 9, 2014
#whyistayed because he said he would kill himself if I left — Jenny Martin (@JennyMartin_UQ) September 9, 2014
After 14 years, 2 concussions and countless bumps, bruises and cuts, my heart and spirit were the most broken parts of me #whyileft — Linda (@MuyLinda206) September 9, 2014
Abuse has deep roots hard for some to understand. Its my children who gave me the strength. #whyileft — Nichole Marie Keller (@nikkole381) September 9, 2014
Because I loved him. Because I thought we had a future together #WhyIStayed Because I wanted to be my own person again #whyileft — Alexandra Dempsey (@akalexi) September 9, 2014
#whyistayed Because when he said he was sorry, I trusted that meant it wouldn't happen again. Again. Again. Again. Again. — Katie Clark (@omgcornflakes) September 9, 2014
I woke up one day and realized I was better than what I thought I deserved #WhyILeft — Kecia Naturalista (@MiiSSkECiia) September 9, 2014
#WhyIStayed Because I thought he would never cross the boundary and hit me. #WhyILeft Because I didn't want my daughter to think it was ok — Deanna Gibbons (@deegibbons) September 9, 2014
#whyileft I knew I deserved better than to be demeaned and manipulated to hate myself by someone I loved — emily✧ (@flamingfaerie) 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
I was craving the freedom to be myself and to take him out of my life for good. I finally let go of the fear and did it. #WhyILeft — La Tracy (@tracky55) September 9, 2014
#WhyIStayed He told me he was well connected (he was) and could cover up my murder. #WhyILeft I decided I'd rather die free than imprisoned. — Tamara Canup (@TamaraCanup) September 9, 2014
#whyistayed Because I was convinced it was my fault. #whyileft It was that or die. — Linda Donegan (@LindaDonegan) September 9, 2014
Because women usually undervalue themselves in relationships, work, & home #WhyIStayed — Cathy Chang (@concisecomm) September 9, 2014
Because "at least he wasn't hitting me". #WhyIStayed — Eian (@TransTortellini) September 9, 2014
Because it wasn't until afterward that anyone said to me, "I would have helped you leave; you just had to ask." #WhyIStayed — Craige Moore (@craige) September 9, 2014
Abused women really don't need the added abuse of caustic judgment. Read #WhyIStayed and learn something. — Emelia (@EmeliaSam) September 9, 2014
There are 2 really important hashtags happening, #whyistayed & #whyileft. Educate yourself. Understand before judging people's relationships — Abby Nocon (@aanocon) September 8, 2014
H/T: Vox, Photo Credit: Twitter