The release of a video by TMZ on Monday showing former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice punching his then-fiance and current wife, Janay Rice has caused outrage all over the world.

The incident reportedly occurred in February 2014 and the couple later got married in March.

Rice was seen assaulting Janay in an elevator after which he dragged her out. His contract with the Ravens has now been terminated after he was earlier suspended for 2 games.

Pertinent on the minds of most people however is the question, why did Janay Rice marry a man who had punched her unconscious?

This situation has now led to a viral Twitter hashtag “#WhyIStayed” and a rejoinder, “#WhyILeft”.

Women (and even men) have taken the opportunity to share their experiences and explain why leaving an abusive relationship is not as easy as it seems.

The hashtag was created by writer, Beverly Gooden, who was physically abused by her former husband for over a year. Through her website, Gooden explains:

“Leaving was a process, not an event,”  “And sometimes it takes a while to navigate through that process.”

She also expressed the hope that the hashtag will help people “find a voice, find love, find compassion, and find hope” and it seems that it has. Read some of the responses from Twitter:

“#whyistayed is the most beautiful thing I've seen on twitter. It feels like a cuddle that comes from someone who gets it”

“The heartbreaking #WhyIStayed hashtag chronicles why people remain in abusive relationships. Twitter at its best.”

“#whyistayed is a very real phenomena. The culture of codependence, passive-aggression and malignant, violent narcissism has to be looked at”

There are 2 really important hashtags happening, #whyistayed & #whyileft. Educate yourself. Understand before judging people's relationship

“Thank you to the brave souls of #whyistayed and #whyileft for sharing their experiences. This is so necessary”

“#whyistayed because eventually my self-esteem was so twisted that I genuinely believed I was in the relationship I deserved”

“#whyistayed bc a PASTOR told me that unless he was beating me I had to make it work. Bc u know, divorce is a sin. So is abuse dumbass.”

“PS - for those of you reading #whyistayed & #whyileft with no personal experience of those situations, you don't get to judge anyone.”