Ray Rice, Janay Palmer

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When the video of former Baltimore Ravens star Ray Rice punching his then-fiancée (now wife) Janay Rice in the face so hard that he knocks her unconscious leaked online, the most disturbing thing was obviously the brutal actions of the NFL star against someone he claimed to love. But one of the other unsettling things about the situation was the fact that not only did Janay marry this man soon after that tragic incident, but her statement on Tuesday about her husband put the blame on the media, and not on Rice himself.

"No one knows the pain that [the] media & unwanted options from the public has caused my family," she wrote on her Instagram. "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 [off] for all his life just to gain ratings is horrific."

Most people are quick to criticize Janay for staying with him, and a lot of people are calling her out for being a poor role model for other women in similar situations. But it's easy for people not in abusive relationships to judge and talk and shake their fingers and wag their tongues.

And that is why the real, inspiring and heartbreaking confessions from the #WhyIStayed and #WhyILeft campaign that launched on Twitter last night is an important must-read for this morning:

To the women who are participating in the #WhyIStayed and #WhyILeft campaign: thank you for being so brave, so open and so inspiring. And hopefully women who are currently in abusive relationships will read your tweets and find strength in your honesty.

For more information on domestic abuse or to get help for yourself or someone you love, visit the website for The National Domestic Violence Hotline or call 1-800-799-7233.

PHOTOS: Famous football fans

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