Domestic violence victims respond to Ray Rice video on Twitter with #WhyIStayed and #WhyILeft

Associated Press: Longer Ray Rice video features obscenities, spitting

In the wake of the explosive surveillance footage released by TMZ Monday showing Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice striking Janay Palmer, his then-fiancee, inside an Atlantic City casino elevator, domestic violence victims took to Twitter to share their own stories of abuse, using a pair of hashtags: #WhyIStayed and #WhyILeft.

The #WhyIStayed thread was created by Beverly Gooden, who says she was physically abused by her ex-husband for more than a year.

"When TMZ released the video of Ray Rice punching, dragging, and spitting on his wife this morning, the internet exploded with questions about her. Why didn't she leave? Why did she marry him? Why did she stay?" Gooden explained in a blog post. "Leaving was a process, not an event. And sometimes it takes awhile to navigate through the process."

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Gooden shared her reasons for staying in a series of tweets, using the #WhyIStayed hashtag.

Gooden encouraged fellow victims to share their reasons, too. And they did.

The #WhyIStayed hashtag began trending on Twitter and soon spawned the companion #WhyILeft.

The storytelling experiment drew raves from fellow Twitter users and domestic violence support groups.