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#WhyIStayed Hashtag Shows Real Life Struggle with Domestic Abuse

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By now you've seen the elevator footage that TMZ leaked: Baltimore Ravens runningback Ray Rice punching and knocking unconscious his wife, Janay Rice. 

Rice has since been fired from his contract with the Ravens, and yesterday, the NFL announced he's been suspended indefinitely. And everyone seems to have an opinion. Many hail the NFL's actions as better late than never (though we don't understand why the video of Rice dragging Janay out of the elevator wasn't enough to warrant more than a two-game suspension). Some are wondering why Janay would stay in an abusive relationship. Others are saying that both parties involved have problems and will hopefully seek help. But ultimately, the incident has people talking—about the broader issue of domestic violence, and how to bring a stop to this devastating problem.

It may be easy to think that you could spot the signs of abuse or to say that you'd leave the minute someone hit you, but many abusers can be charming and romantic, especially in the early stages. Still, there are some red flags you can watch out for. "They can range from things like jealousy, dictating what you wear, watching the way you spend money, expecting sex, rigid expectations (expecting perfection), and questioning where you go and with whom," says Norma Amezcua, director of operations at the National Domestic Violence Hotline. "It's important to think of your safety first if you think your partner could become abusive in the future. Most importantly, remember that it is not your fault. If someone becomes abusive, it is because they have chosen to do so." 

Last night, writer Beverly Gooden came up with the hashtags #WhyIStayed and #WhyILeft to start the conversation and share the reality survivors of domestic violence face. Below, some examples of women's responses. For more signs of domestic abuse, click here. If you or someone you know is being abused, you can call the 24/7 National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. 




Soon, people were flooding Twitter with stories. 













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