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#WhyIStayed: Ray Rice Video Ignites Discussion About Domestic Violence

The video of Ray Rice punching Janay Palmer lead to domestic abuse victims sharing their stories on Twitter using the hashtag #WhyIStayed.

Video surfaced Monday showing NFL star Ray Rice punching his then-fiancée (now wife) Janay Palmer so hard in the face that it caused her to collapse in a casino elevator. The footage led to Rice getting cut from the Baltimore Ravens and suspended indefinitely by the NFL. It also caused many people to raise the question of why Palmer had stayed with Rice after he hit her.

Victims of domestic violence took to Twitter to answer that question, sharing their own stories using the hashtag #WhyIStayed. The hashtag was still trending Tuesday night as more and more people shared their reasons for staying in abusive relationships, including being threatened, having nowhere to go or simply being too scared to tell anyone.

As the hashtag revealed, victims of domestic abuse are far from alone. A staggering 4.7 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year, but only 55 percent are ever reported, according to the CDC.

This month marks 20 years since the Violence Against Women Act was signed into law, pledging the nation's commitment to ending violence against women.