Victim: ‘I stayed, because I loved him’

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

INDIANAPOLIS – As the Ray Rice fallout continues, Jeanette Perkins doesn’t have video that shows the abuse she endured for more than 20 years. The Indianapolis mother only has her words.

She met her abuser at 16.

“It was my best friend’s brother,” she said. “It would start off verbally and then it would go into physical. Black eyes… He’d have one. I’d have one.”

She even lost a tooth during a fight when her boyfriend punched her in the mouth.

Still, Perkins endured; even gave birth to a daughter and kept believing it would get better.

“It happens because this is the psychological game they play on us,” she explained.

A few years ago, she decided enough was enough and fled to her daughter’s house. From there, they called the Salvation Army and eventually Perkins moved into the Coburn Place to take shelter.

Today, she is living in her own home and married to the love of her life. But now she is seeing her old self in Janay Rice, wife of former NFL star Ray Rice and the center of a horrifying video which shows her getting knocked out by him.

Ray Rice was released from the Baltimore Ravens the same day the video was released to the public.

On Tuesday, Janay Rice released a statement and called the fallout a “nightmare.”

Perkins could not hold back her emotions when Fox 59 read her the statement.

“You talk about you woke up in a nightmare? Sweetie, you marrying that man… you stand(ing) with that man is what’s making your life a nightmare!”

Despite the chilling assault caught on camera, Perkins explained that battered women have many complex reasons for staying. They may have a child with their abuser, they’re financially dependent on the abuser, they’re scared, or they are in love.

“I stayed, because I loved him. At least that’s what I thought,” she admitted. “All I can say is I can pray for her. I’m gonna pray for her."

If you are in an abusive relationship, you can find help at any of these Indiana organizations.