Beverly Gooden — who originated the #WhyIStayed hashtag that has taken off across Twitter — joined us today for our discussion on domestic violence and the brutal Ray Rice video. Beverly — who is herself a survivor of a violent relationship -- had some deep, thoughtful answers to questions raised in the conversation.
"When I saw the initial response to the full elevator video, it was overwhelmingly targeted at Mrs. Rice. It was: 'Why did she stay? Why didn't she leave? I would never stay with anyone who hit me.' I saw tweets calling her stupid, an idiot, you know, she must like it, she must want the abuse. It made me angry. It reminded me of the situation that I had been in. And without thinking, without trying to do anything, I shot off a tweet that explained in detail why I stayed. It took off from there."
"One of the things that people don't understand about an abusive relationship is that you feel trapped, because you can't talk about it with the abuser. And you can't talk about it with your friends or family without knowing that they'll twist your arm to leave. So you literally have people telling you what to do from all angles. And it's easy to get lost in that. It's easy for your own voice to get lost in that."
"The abuse is the issue. However, the victim did not victimize herself. So saying, why didn't she leave, why did she stay, is putting the blame on the victim for her abuse. The question is why did he abuse? Why did he hit her? Why did she hit him? The question should always be focused on the person who committed the crime, as opposed to the victim."
The full conversation also included Laurie MacDonald of the Center for Victims in Pittsburgh, and sportswriter and journalism professor Kevin Blackistone. You can listen here.