By Wendy Widom

CHICAGO (CBS) — As the crisis over domestic violence in the NFL continues to dominate the headlines, women across the country are now bravely coming forward to share their stories of abuse. This week, Meredith Vieira publicly revealed how she remained in a violent relationship, citing the #WhyIStayed posts trending on social media.

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Casting off the fear and shame that have weighed heavily on their shoulders, domestic abuse survivors have found their voice and the world is finally listening.

Ray Rice, Brandon Marshall, Jonathan Dwyer, Adrian Peterson: In the days and weeks to come, the country will hear more graphic and horrific instances of professional athletes allegedly abusing their wives, girlfriends and children.

Yet domestic violence is not confined to the NFL or to the celebrity world. It happens everywhere. One in every four women will experience abuse at some point in her life. According to CBS’s James Brown, more than 600 women have been killed by their partners since Ray and Janay Rice’s fateful elevator ride in February of 2014. Six hundred women.

On the front lines locally is Dorri McWhorter, CEO of the YWCA Metropolitan Chicago. In the last few weeks, Ms. McWhorter reports that she has received over 100 emails and messages. Some are from women and men in crisis, while others are survivors who now feel compelled to share their experiences. McWhorter is allowing CBS 2 to publish quotes from a few of the emails and messages, which can be found below (edited for spelling and grammar).

Oftentimes, the Internet is a space where we read celebrity gossip and watch cute cat videos. Every once in a while, however, it transforms into a powerful forum through which ordinary women and men disrupt the status quo and demand change.

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If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact 312.372.6660. To support YWCA Metropolitan Chicago’s Purple Purse Campaign, an effort dedicated to building awareness around the issue of domestic violence, donate here.


“I lost a cousin back in 1998 due to domestic violence. He tried to kill everyone in the car.”

“I would share this in hopes to help everyone understand how domestic violence can impact not only the victim but children and other family.”

“My mother and I were the victims of domestic violence. No one helped. No one believed us. We did not fit the profile. We were a lovely middle class family, well educated, and active in the civic community.”

“The dialogue has come too late for my mother, and the lifelong effects of domestic violence irreparably influenced my ability to bond with men. There are many women who have similar stories, but who have compensated for the challenge of that perennial dysfunction by over-achievement in other ways.”

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“When I grew up domestic violence was not something families and friends discussed in public. It was an unfortunate secret to be dismissed or denied. The enablers were found in police who would not help, male judges who would not rule against other men in court rooms, and others who found being supportive inconvenient.”