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Ray Rice assault video creates inspiring Twitter response

Victims of domestic abuse are using the #WhyIStayed & #WhyILeft campaign to tell stories of their experiences.

Janay Rice, sits next to her husband Ray at a press conference on 9 September, 2014. Picture: Facebook.

CAPE TOWN - After Janay Rice, the wife of former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, posted a message on her Instagram account in response to the release of video footage showing the athlete assaulting her, the backlash on social media was almost instant.

What seemed to unsettle many was not only the National Football League star's brutal actions toward her but the fact that she married him after the incident took place and then defended him, placing the blame on the media and not her husband.

WARNING: VIDEO CONTAINS CONTENT NOT FOR SENSITIVE VIEWERS

In her Instagram message Janay said, "I woke up this morning feeling like I had a horrible nightmare, feeling like I'm mourning the death of my closest friend. But to have to accept the fact that it's reality is a nightmare in itself. No one knows the pain that the media & unwanted options from the public has caused my family. To make us relive a moment in our lives that we regret every day is a horrible thing. To take something away from the man I love that he has worked his ass of for all his life just to gain ratings is horrific.

"THIS IS OUR LIFE! What don't you all get? If your intentions were to hurt us, embarrass us, make us feel alone, take all happiness away, you've succeeded on so many levels. Just know we will continue to grow & show the world what real love is! Ravensnation we love you!"

The Ravens released Rice on Monday after the video, published on the website TMZ, showed him punching Janay and her falling face down on the elevator floor.

Since the story broke, most were quick to judge and criticise Janay for staying, many accusing her of being a poor role model to other women in similar situations.

Reading Janay Rice defending her fiance for breaking her face in is ultra depressing

And while it's easy for people who have never experienced domestic abuse to run their mouths, something both heartbreaking and inspiring came from the revelations.

Last night, the #WhyIStayed/ #WhyILeft campaign launched on Twitter.

#WhyIStayed I was manipulated, deceived, controlled, moulded & naive. I was spiritually, mentally & financially broken..its also #whyileft

Both men and women, who were or still remain victims of domestic abuse, shared their experiences and why they've either chosen to stay or leave their partners.

The response was phenomenal.

I was completely convinced that everyone would call me a whore (he did). That I'd be damaged goods that nobody would want. #WhyIStayed

#whyistayed ? She made me feel like I deserved it. That I was worth nothing. That no one would love me. Men get abused too...

The hypocrisy and double standards that people display is just sickening.abuse in any form is wrong!dont create #whyistayed for women only!

Because I thought I could heal him #WhyIStayed He didn't want to. #WhyILeft

Because I'm weak and can't do this by my. I don't know how. #WhyIStayed

I grew up with it and thought it was normal. Yet hiding broken bones and bruises in school isn't normal. STAND UP! SPEAK OUT! #WhyIStayed

"I stayed because I thought love was enough to conquer all. #WhyIStayed" -Beverly Gooden

Because he isolated me from all of my friends and made me emotionally dependent upon him #WhyIStayed

#whyIstayed because everyone said, "but he's the perfect guy. That can't be him" they didn't want to believe and so I second guessed myself

#WhyIStayed -because emotional abuse isn't a thing right? #WhyILeft -because physical abuse is not a thing I was to suffer more than once

#WhyIStayed I was petrified and thought he would take my daughter. #Why I Left I knew one day he would do the same to my daughter.

#WhyIStayed was my 1st love & we were engaged, my family loved him. It wasn't physical #WhyILeft It became physical and I deserved better..

True love is possible, but only for those who resist the insidious temptation of gender pity party psychodrama. #WhyIStayed #whyileft

#whyIstayed Escalation of abusive behaviour to violence was so gradual

#whyIeft The tipping point was obvious, explosive, undeniable

It's impossible to summarise #WhyIStayed in one sentence. As for #WhyILeft - because I have the most amazing friend in the world.

I thought love meant trying my best to fix him #WhyIStayed he strangled me in front of our son and I begged him to hurt me later #whyileft

#whyistayed b/c being my first I thought my parents wanted me there. #whyileft b/c crying on the phone every single night is not normal.