Why Women Stay: The Paradox of Abusive Relationships

Why Women Stay: The Paradox of Abusive Relationships

Janay Rice, back left, looks on as her husband, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, speaks during an NFL football news conference, Friday, May 23, 2014, at the team's practice facility in Owings Mills, Md. Ray Rice spoke to the media for the first time since his arrest for assaulting his fiance, now his wife, at a casino in Atlantic City, N.J.  (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Janay Rice, back left, looks on as her husband, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, speaks during an NFL football news conference, Friday, May 23, 2014, at the team’s practice facility in Owings Mills, Md. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

(Time) – After a video was released showing Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice punching his then-fiancée, now-wife Janay Palmer so hard that he knocked her unconscious, victims of domestic abuse took to Twitter to explain why Palmer still decided to become Mrs. Rice after the incident. Some on Twitter shared their own experiences with the hashtag #WhyIStayed. There have been over 92,000 tweets on the subject since 1 a.m. Monday when the video was posted (follow the Twitter conversation in the graphic above).

The tweets give a chilling insight into why many women (and some men) feel trapped in relationships of domestic abuse. Beverly Gooden, a writer who started #WhyIStayed on Twitter, writes on her site that for her, leaving an abusive situation was “a process, not an event.” She explained in a series of tweets the many reasons it took her so long to get out: she once tried to leave the house, but her abuser slept in front of the door to block her; a pastor told her that God hates divorce; her husband said he would change; she needed time to find a place to go and money to survive once she left; she thought love conquered all; she was isolated from friends and family who lived halfway across the country.

Gooden’s story is a common one. One in four women experience domestic abuse in their lifetime, and it is one of the most chronically underreported crimes: only about one quarter of all physical assaults, one fifth of all rapes and one half of all stalkings are reported to the police.

READ MORE