September 9, 2014 2:47 PM EDT

Many were quick to applaud the firing of former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, who was unceremoniously suspended from professional football Monday — likely spelling an end to his career — after a video of him violently attacking his then-girlfriend Janay Palmer went viral. Some criticized the NFL’s lenient punishment of Rice before the entire video was made public.

Twitter reacted with a mix of horror, bewilderment and sympathy as the news sparked a broad based conversation about domestic violence organized around two hashtags: #WhyIStayed and #WhyILeft.

This morning, Janay, who is now Rice’s wife, defended her relationship in an Instagram post that lambasts the “media and unwanted opinions from the public” for causing her family pain: “If your intensions were to hurt us, embarrass us, make us feel alone, take all happiness away, you’ve succeeded on so many levels,” Janay said.

That statement caused another social media firestorm. The reactions ranged from sadness and sympathy to criticism of Janay. Here are some of the most powerful tweets:


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