Janay, 26, came into the limelight after leaked footage of her now husband, Ray Rice, then a Baltimore Ravens American football player, knocked her out with a punch which left her unconscious, lying on the floor of the elevator where the incident took place.
The pair, who have a young daughter, got married a month later.
After the footage was leaked, the football star was banned from the NFL, but he has now been reinstated and can sign with a new team.
In a series of interviews with different news outlets, Janay revealed that was the first time he ever hit her, she doesn’t feel like a victim and that she hasn’t watched the complete footage of the incident.
Here are some excerpts from the ESPN Interview.
Why She Apologized & Supported Ray After The Incident
Looking out over the media, I became angry, seeing all the people who had been covering this and adding to the story. I wanted to tell everyone what was really on my mind. When it was my turn to speak, I said I regretted my role in the incident.
I know some people disagreed with me publicly apologizing. I’m not saying that what Ray did wasn’t wrong. He and I both know it was wrong. It’s been made clear to him that it was wrong. But at the same time, who am I to put my hands on somebody? I had already apologized to Ray, and I felt that I should take responsibility for what I did. Even though this followed the Ravens’ suggested script, I owned my words.
I also wanted to show people that I was supportive of Ray just like I’d always been … If anyone knows me they know, I never have and never will be with Ray because of what he can do for me. I stuck with Ray because I truly love him.
Why They Got Married a Month After The Incident
We were married March 28, the day after he was indicted for aggravated assault. We didn’t choose that day because of the indictment. It just happened to be a Friday and a time when our families could attend our wedding without having to interrupt their work schedules. I didn’t understand why that was suspicious to some people. We’d been together seven years and had been engaged for two [Editor’s Note: Janay got pregnant after they were engaged]. What happened that night wasn’t going to change the fact that we were going to get married.
Why She Didn’t Watch The Full Footage – She Says she was already ‘Over’ the Incident
It was six o’clock in the morning on September 8, nearly seven months after the incident… When he got off the phone, he told me the whole video had been released. I just went into a shell. I started crying. We knew it was going to be another media storm. We didn’t know what to do.
I sent out a text to everybody close to me: “The video’s out. I would ask you not to watch it.” I know some of them probably did. But I refused to.
I was over this, and I didn’t need the visual. How was seeing it going to help me? I knew that would only bring me back there. After Ray watched it, I asked him not to look at it again, because I knew it was only the devil trying to come in and ruin how far we’ve come. I refused to go backwards.
How She Felt When Ray was Fired from His Team
I was extremely surprised and angry that the Ravens released him, because they know him. They were our family, but I felt like the Ravens completely disregarded the past six years with him. Anytime the Ravens needed someone for a community event, Ray was their man. It seemed like a knee-jerk reaction for publicity reasons.
On Being Called a Victim
I still find it hard to accept being called a “victim.” I know there are so many different opinions out there about me — that I’m weak, that I’m making excuses and covering up abuse — and that some people question my motives for staying with Ray.
However, I’m a strong woman and I come from a strong family. Never in my life have I seen abuse, nor have I seen any woman in my family physically abused. I have always been taught to respect myself and to never allow myself to be disrespected, especially by a man. Growing up, my father used to always tell my sister and I, “We don’t need a man to make us, if anything it’s the man who needs us.”
I’ve learned a lot about myself. I’ve realized how strong I am. People ask me how I’ve gotten through this and I honestly cannot put it into words. I have grown closer to God. My faith has gotten me through each day. It’s been hard accepting the fact that God chose us for this, but at the same time it’s put us in the position to help others. We know our incident led to very important discussions to hashtags of “why I stayed” and “why I left.” If it took our situation becoming headline news to show domestic violence is happening in this country, that’s a positive.