Social media has been flooded the past month with a lot of differing conversations about domestic violence. These conversations have been fuelled by Ray Rice, the running back of the Baltimore Ravens who was arrested on aggravated assault.
This came on the heels on a video being released of both the altercation in the elevator between Rice and his girlfriend, and the haunting and disturbing aftermath.
It might be hard to believe but many users on social media were not overly sensitive to the situation, and some were even in defense of Rice and others like him.
Much of the conversation has been constructive and open communication, but nothing has had the emotional impact of the simple hashtag of “#WhyIStayed”. A hashtag used by victims of domestic violence to tell their story.
It quickly became one of the hottest trending topics, and easily the most compelling. It was human experience on display acting as a conduit for others to empathize and learn.
The hashtag was so immediate that its ascent is a true testament to the abilities of social media, and in this case, Twitter.
The hashtag was started by just one woman who shared her story in 140 characters. From there, it spread like wildfire and hasn’t stopped since. Twitter is the perfect arena for safe and open discussion on this issue.
Social media has been able to focus the spotlight on the victims, giving them a personal microphone and podium to talk about what they’ve endured and to help others who might be experiencing the same trauma.
It only took hours to explode but there’s hope that this hashtag and its insignificance will not only have staying power, but also the ability to change circumstances.
Truly, one of the more inspiring stories to follow in social media and a ray of light compared to some of the other conversation that many users have had to endure.