19 #WhyIStayed Tweets That Everyone Needs to See

Source: Jared Keller for Mic
Source: Jared Keller for Mic

On Monday morning, TMZ released a damning video of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice's violent attack on his then-fiancée Janay Palmer in February. The brutal video showed Rice knocking Palmer unconscious before dragging her out of an elevator. On Monday afternoon, the Ravens got rid of Rice, and the NFL announced he had been suspended indefinitely. 

While many cheered the NFL's move to (finally) punish Rice's vicious behavior, too many media outlets immediately fell into a tired pattern of victim blaming. "Let's not all jump on the bandwagon of demonizing this guy," said Fox News contributor Ben Carson. "He obviously has some real problems, and his wife obviously knows that, because she subsequently married him."

Writer Beverly Gooden had heard enough. "I was watching the responses to the TMZ on my timeline, and I noticed a trend. People were asking 'why did she marry him?' and 'why didn't she leave him,'" Gooden told Mic. "When I saw those tweets, my first reaction was shame. The same shame that I felt back when I was in a violent marriage. It's a sort of guilt that would make me crawl into a shell and remain silent. But today, for a reason I can't explain, I'd had enough. I knew I had an answer to everyone's question of why victims of violence stay. I can't speak for Janay Rice, I can only speak for me."

Gooden decided to change the conversation. She called on her followers to share their stories of domestic abuse with the hashtag #WhyIStayed in an effort to draw awareness to the complexities of domestic violence.

"I want people to know they are not alone and that there are people who truly understand what they have gone through," said Gooden. "When the overwhelming public voice is of shame, you can get lost in the guilt. You can feel voiceless. I want people to know that they have a voice! That they have the power. That's so critical, that survivors feel empowered."

Gooden's message resonated. Within a few hours, thousands of Twitter users were sharing their stories

Domestic violence isn't a rare phenomenon in America. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, an estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year, and 1 in every 4 women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.


But these are just numbers, considered in the abstract, without faces and names. It shouldn't take a brutal video to make people care about domestic violence. All to often, it takes the spectacle of violence to thrust an issue endured in silence and solitude into the national spotlight. 

"It is never as simple as walking out of the door," said Gooden. "There are so many layers to domestic violence. And not just financial, although those are valid. But we are talking about human hearts. It's not easy to leave someone you love. It's not easy to leave when you have no resources and nowhere to go. It's not easy to leave when you are threatened with additional violence. It's not easy to leave when you remember how it used to be, or when they romance you during the good times, or when they promise it is the last time. Or when there are children involved. Because you believe in love and you believe in them."


How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Jared Keller

Jared Keller is the former director of news at Mic.

MORE FROM

'Hot Mic' podcast: GOP Senate health care, Comey tapes, 2016 election data stolen

The important stories to get you caught up for Friday

Watchdog groups sue Trump for deleting tweets, allegedly violating Presidential Records Act

Trump's deleted tweets may come back to haunt him.

Grizzly bear protections in Yellowstone National park are ending

A final ruling by US government officials will strike the Yellowstone grizzly bear from the list of threatened species after its population increased to 700.

Another day, another off-camera White House press briefing

The move to scale back on-camera press briefings comes amid Trump's increasing unwillingness to interact with the press.

Minneapolis might get a $15 minimum wage, but restaurant workers aren't celebrating

Discord has been brewing in Minneapolis over whether tipped work will be counted toward a $15 minimum wage.

These abysmal new poll numbers for House health care bill don't bode well for Senate version

Only 34% of Republicans approve of the new proposed law.

'Hot Mic' podcast: GOP Senate health care, Comey tapes, 2016 election data stolen

The important stories to get you caught up for Friday

Watchdog groups sue Trump for deleting tweets, allegedly violating Presidential Records Act

Trump's deleted tweets may come back to haunt him.

Grizzly bear protections in Yellowstone National park are ending

A final ruling by US government officials will strike the Yellowstone grizzly bear from the list of threatened species after its population increased to 700.

Another day, another off-camera White House press briefing

The move to scale back on-camera press briefings comes amid Trump's increasing unwillingness to interact with the press.

Minneapolis might get a $15 minimum wage, but restaurant workers aren't celebrating

Discord has been brewing in Minneapolis over whether tipped work will be counted toward a $15 minimum wage.

These abysmal new poll numbers for House health care bill don't bode well for Senate version

Only 34% of Republicans approve of the new proposed law.