In light of the recent domestic violence scandal surrounding NFL player Ray Rice, TV host Meredith Vieira has opened up about why she had such a hard time leaving an abusive relationship.
Vieira, former host of The View and the Today show, told her story on her daytime talk show, The Meredith Vieira Show.
She said she was in a physically abusive relationship when she was younger, and despite having a job and the means to leave her partner, she stayed with him out of fear.
“Now, this is going on, and I’m a smart woman, and a lot of people say, ‘Well, who would stay in that situation? Somebody who maybe has the wherewithal to get out, the means to get out,'” she said. “I had that. I had a job at the time. And I kept in this relationship and I’ve done a lot of thinking about why and I think part of it was fear. I was scared of him.”
Her partner would also manipulate her to make her feel guilty for their fights.
“Every time we would have a fight he would then start crying and say, ‘I promise I won’t do it again’ and I would feel like maybe I contributed, somehow, to this,” Vieira said. “And they are saying this about Ray Rice’s wife, that it takes two to tango.”
The violence escalated throughout the relationship, Vieira said.
“It started out with we would have a fight and he’d just sort of grab my arm,” she said. “And I didn’t think a lot about it, and then it turned into pushing me against the wall. And then it went beyond that to actually taking his hand and grabbing my face and saying ‘I could ruin your career if I wanted to and no one would want you.”
In one incident, Vieira says her former partner threw her naked into a shower with scalding water and then threw her out of their apartment. She had to hide in a stairwell for hours before he came back for her.
“I continued to stay in that relationship until I was offered a job in another state and that’s where I felt I had the ability to get away,” she said.
Watch the full video below:
After video emerged last week of Rice punching his fiancee unconscious in an elevator, thousands of domestic violence victims across the country starting sharing their personal stories of abuse using the #WhyIStayed and #WhyILeft hashtags on Twitter in an effort to combat victim blaming.
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