Twitter seems to be a place of cyber bullying, celebrity ridicule, and pointless arguments. Many people seem to use it for bad and nuisance hilarity except but in rare occasions it unifies the cyber community. Ray Rice’s horrific video where he knocked his now-wife unconscious and then proceeded to drag her partially lifeless body, led to his life doing a negative 180. And the media and social networks did what it does best—capitalized on his misfortune. And no one was safe, not even his wife, Janay, as she reaped her own anguish ridicule for staying.
Many that have never been in a domestic violence relationship were quick to judge while those that are survivors could relate. One in particular, writer Beverly Gordon, decided to change the course of the conversation from attacking to understanding. She 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.”
She started the hashtag #WhyIStayed to reflect on her own story of abuse, in hopes her followers would start the dialogue that rarely gets discussed. Quickly the #WhyIStayed and #WhyILeft trended late last night and the wee hours of the mornings as a sincere unification was felt in the cyber world.
For a few hours the echoes of derision and disgust subsided as followers related to one another’s 140 character explanations and those that were never in that position tried to grasp the concept that love can be dangerous and abuse is gender and color blind.
Flip the page to check out the #WhyIStayed tweets and if you can relate, comment below why you stayed.