#WhyIStayed: Bringing Domestic Violence to Light
The lowdown: If you’ve been paying attention to any kind of news media lately, you’ve probably heard about the horrific video of NFL player Ray Rice knocking his then-fiancee Janay unconscious before dragging her body out of the hotel elevator. While we can hopefully all agree that this kind of violence is completely unacceptable, the trickier part for the American public to understand comes from the fact that Janay decided to marry Ray anyway. Cue #WhyIStayed and its counterpart, #WhyILeft.
Speaking out: When we read stories of domestic abuse, it can be natural to wonder “Why would she ever stay with him after something like that?” If you’ve never experienced this kind of violence, it can be hard to understand the many reasons that might keep a women from leaving an abusive relationship: fear of retribution from the abuser, economic dependence, emotional and mental abuse, threats against one’s children, or the simple hope that the situation might change for the better (among many, many others). In the age of Twitter, though, we have an amazing opportunity to actually hear the voices of women who have experienced abuse. Beverly Gooden (@bevtgooden) started the @WhyIStayed hashtag in response to questions about Janay’s decision, and other women quickly turned the Twittersphere into a collection of stories about the complex world of domestic violence.