Domestic abuse awareness heightened after Ray Rice video

In this May 23, 2014, file photo, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, right, speaks alongside his wife, Janay, during a news conference at the team's practice facility in Owings Mills, Md. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (WTNH) – The Ray Rice story has placed domestic violence, dead center of the national consciousness.

From social media sites to radio and television, it has unleashed a heightened awareness of domestic abuse like no other in recent years. Fanning the controversy, a post on Instagram by Janay Rice, defending husband, recently fired Baltimore Raven Ray Rice.

LINK: Ravens dump Rice; Video appears to show him striking fiancee

“I woke up this morning feeling like I had a horrible nightmare” she wrote. “To make us relive a moment in our lives that we regret everyday is a horrible thing.”

“Most of the time, they do want to defend the abuser, ” said Debra Greenwood, who heads up The Center for Family Justice, a non-profit domestic violence agency in Bridgeport.

Greenwood added, that “women will stay in a situation for financial reasons, they will stay again because they are in denial. They will stay because they are in love — whether there are children involved in the scenario.”

The long time family advocate says the video of what happened inside an Atlantic City elevator is a telltale sign of what’s to come.

“This would be something we would say to someone that would walk through our doors here at the Center for Family Justice, we need to put you in a safe place. It needs to happen right now.”

When to seek help and leave, Greenwood stressed, is up to the victim to decide. “They usually identify it themselves. And they’ll feel very unsafe and they’ll feel their life is in danger.”

The number of calls and walk-ins there has escalated in the last two days. Referring to the elevator video, Greenwood said, “advocates across the country that would look at that saying, how can we help you? Please reach out to us, call our hotline.”

While more women are abused, men are also victims in domestic cases. 24 hour crisis hotline numbers are available. The number for The Center for Family Justice is 203-384-9559. For more information go to www.centerforfamilyjustice.org.

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