The show Fox and Friends had an unusual takeaway from the video of former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice punching his wife, Janay, in the face and knocking her unconscious in a casino elevator: "Take the stairs."
The show's hosts, Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade, also disparaged women like Rice and Rihanna for “sending a terrible message” by staying with their abusers. In a segment on Newsmax, retired-neurosurgeon-turned-conservative-commentator Ben Carson suggested, "Let's not all jump on the bandwagon of demonizing this guy. He obviously has some real problems." Obviously!
"And his wife obviously knows that," he added, "because she subsequently married him."
Soon after, women began flooding Twitter with the hashtag #WhyIStayed to show why leaving an abuser is harder than it might seem.
The writer Beverly Gooden kicked it off with this:
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
Many more followed:
#WhyIStayed ....because I thought I was a strong person who loved a damaged person and only I could help him.— Ashley (@sashleyham) September 9, 2014
I was determined to make it work, wanted kids to have their dad, convinced myself that what he did to me wasn't affecting them #WhyIStayed— Rachel Miller (@ReIgniteRomance) September 9, 2014
#WhyIStayed Because after being stuck in an abusive relationship for awhile I started to believe I deserved all of it.— kat (@9LivesofKat) September 9, 2014
Because good church girls persevere and overcome. #whyistayed— Akoua Deloire (@AfroIvoire) September 9, 2014
#whyistayed because I "knew" no one else would want me. I was "lucky" that he chose me. I finally left because he almost killed me— thriftymaven (@thriftymaven) September 9, 2014
The anecdotes reveal the startling diversity of the predicaments of domestic-abuse victims.