#WhyIStayed creator to share story on campus

Beverly Gooden, a domestic violence survivor and creator of the social media movement #WhyIStayed, will speak to Baylor students Tuesday.

Gooden speak in Jones Concert Hall in the McCrary Music Building from 6 to 8 p.m. She will also speak in all three Chapel services Wednesday. The lecture is free and open to the public.

The lecture is part of the Baylor Academy for Leader Development lecture series. The Academy for Leader Development is a group that provides curricular and extra-curricular opportunities for students to learn leadership skills. The academy sponsors and runs programs such like the Leadership Living and Learning Center (LEAD LLC), peer leaders, leadership minor and the lecture series. The lecture series strives to bring national and international speakers to campus to discuss pressing social issues.

“I hope that the community at large will come,” said Amy Kellner, student leadership coordinator for the Academy for Leader Developmen. “I hope all audience members will gain a better understanding of domestic violence, increased sensitivity for survivors and that students will consider how they can serve as leaders to prevent domestic violence. For survivors, I hope they understand they are not alone and their stories are important. For victims, I hope they develop a support system and gain knowledge of how to leave their relationships safely.”

Gooden started the #WhyIStayed movement in 2014 after hearing multiple people blame Janay Rice for staying with her fiancée Ray Rice. Ray Rice was a running back in the NFL for the Baltimore Ravens and was suspended indefinitely from the NFL after video surfaced of him punching his future wife and knocking her out.

After seeing these comments about people blaming Janay Rice, Gooden decided to share her own reason for staying in an abusive relationship.

“I stayed because my pastor told me that God hates divorce. It didn’t cross my mind that God might hate abuse, too. #WhyIStayed,” Gooden tweeted. “He said he would change. He promised it was the last time. I believed him. He lied. #WhyIStayed.”

An hour later the hashtag had gone viral and several women were using the hashtag to tell their own stories of why they stayed in abusive relationships.

“I think this is a good thing for students to hear,” said San Antonio freshman Ciara Hernandez. “Especially with all the recent controversy. She’s showing the women that they should not feel ashamed, it’s not their fault and they should seek help. She will give women on campus and women everywhere hope.”

It’s estimated that in the United States 1.3 million women are domestic violence victims each year. The World Health organization estimates that globally about 35 percent of women have experienced violence in their lifetime. This statistic only includes women who have reported the violence.

Gooden has a B.A. in journalism and communications from Hampton University and a M.A. in social justice and community development from Loyola University-Chicago. She is a Cleveland, Ohio, native and worked in the social justice field as well as human resources before becoming a domestic violence advocate. She has been on Good Morning America, CNN, Time and The Washington Post. Her writing has been in the New York Times and on NBC’s TODAY show.