Domestic violence victim speaks out on why women stay

(WBIR-Knoxville) The fallout surrounding the now-former Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice continues.

Video surfaced online Tuesday of fans across the country burning their number 27 jerseys. Meanwhile, the organization announced that fans can exchange their Ray Rice jerseys at stadium stores. Nike also terminated its endorsement contract with Rice.

All of this comes after TMZ released a video of Rice punching his now wife. The violent act is bringing a lot of attention to the topic of domestic violence, which statistics show is all too common.

RELATED: Video surfaces of Ray Rice's domestic violence incident

Ray Rice's wife, Jana, released a statement less than 24 hours after her husband was cut from the Ravens. She blamed herself as well as others.

"No one knows the pain that [the] media & unwanted opinions from the public has caused my family. To make us relive a moment in our lives that we regret every day is a horrible thing," she posted on Instagram.

The Rice situation is just one of thousands that are happening across the country.

In fact, the moment the video of Ray Rice hitting his wife was released, a hashtag

was created on Twitter by Beverly Gooden, called #WhyIStayed.

It didn't take long for that hashtag to begin trending and it became an outlet for woman to explain the reality of these domestic abuse situations.

A woman in East Tennessee said she has gone through it first hand and "blaming" is something she is all too familiar with.

"He would tell me, you know, if would have just done this. And I would say okay and I would make a mental note," said Jane Doe of Jefferson County. "Make sure the silverware is lined up a certain way, make sure the sheets are made a certain way, and make sure you put three ice cubes in his glass."

A Jefferson County native, who chose to stay anonymous, said she was abused as a child and also as a wife. What started off as emotional abuse became physical.

"He threw things at me, a coffee mug," she said. "When the physical started is when I decided to leave."

Many people are asking why Janay Rice would stick up for her husband and why any woman would choose to stay. Professionals say it's because they feel isolated and trapped.

"Victims have an offender doing that," said Amy Dilworth, executive director of the Knoxville Family Justice Center. "They feel like they have to protect that person because they could be punched, hit, hurt, killed and no one else understands what that person is capable of."

The national story has hundreds of thousands of women speaking on that very subject via Twitter.

"The most beautiful thing is that people are out there, when they are in it they are isolated," Dilworth said. "They think no one else is experiencing this. So the best thing is to get your voice back."

Victims of domestic violence said there are hundreds of reasons women choose to stay, but there is only one reason Jane Doe finally decided to leave.

"I had to know that as a person, I did everything I could to make the relationship work," she said. "Does that make sense? I don't know."

If you are a victim of domestic abuse or you know of someone who may be going through anything we discussed in this story, it is encouraged you reach out for help.

The number for the National Domestic Violence hotline is 1-800-799-SAFE.


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