Another famous woman has come forward to share her story about domestic violence in the wake of the Ray Rice scandal. This time, Meredith Vieira opened up about her own history with abuse on her talk show “Meredith” on Tuesday.
“I want to explain to you why I stayed,” she said to her studio audience and the cameras, referencing Twitter hashtags #WhyIStayed and #WhyILeft which have popped up for women to share their stories of domestic abuse.
Vieira’s revelation followed Robin Givens, who also recently opened up about what she described as her past abusive relationship with boxer Mike Tyson. The women are reacting to the recently-released shocking video showing NFL star Rice punching his then-fiancee in the face in an elevator in February.
Vieira explained in graphic detail that years ago, she was in a physically abusive relationship that she wasn’t able to leave until she was offered a job in a different state.
“Then there was the night, we shared an apartment, and he threw me into a shower, naked with scalding water and then he threw me outside into the hallway,” Vieira shared. “We lived in an apartment building and I hid in the stairwell for two hours until he came again crying, ‘I promise I won’t do this again.'”
Vieira also sympathized with Rice’s wife Janay, who has gotten flack for contributing to the situation. “A lot of people say, ‘Well, who would stay in that situation?'” said Vieira. “Somebody who doesn’t have the wherewithal to get out, the means to get out … 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. I was scared if I tried to leave something worse could happen to me. Part of it was guilt because 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.”
Vieira also urged women in similar situations to reach out for help. “If you are going through this get yourself to a shelter, by all means tell somebody what’s going on, let somebody know,” she said. “That’s just my experience with it and I know it’s rampant in this country and we all have to accept the fact that it’s not just an issue with the NFL, it’s an issue with all of our lives and until we take it seriously more and more women are going to get abused.”