Gooden asks abuse survivors to speak

In conjunction with the Title IX Office, Baylor Chapel and Baylor Department of Wellness, the Baylor Academy for Leader Development hosted Beverly Gooden on Tuesday evening to come speak in Jones Concert Hall of the Glennis McCrary Music Building. Gooden is a domestic violence survivor and advocate, as well as the creator of the #WhyIStayed movement. Gooden will speak in all three chapels today.

Gooden spoke to a room of students, faculty and staff about how she left her abusive relationship and why she stayed for two years.

Gooden got engaged to her boyfriend after dating for nine month, but the abuse started months beforetn this. She initially questioned what she did to make her boyfiend abuse her.

“I stayed because I was afraid,” Gooden said. “I stayed because I didn’t think anyone would believe me. I thought that if I told anyone they would judge me. I never called the police because I didn’t know what would happen. I didn’t know if he would go to jail or if I would be alone and never see him again. I stayed because I wanted to believe him when he said it would be the last time.”

Gooden said she also stayed because he was the breadwinner. She didn’t have a job and they were both just out of college. They shared a car, a bank account and an apartment.

She stayed in the relationship for two years until one morning he shoved her out of bed and threw a phone at her when she ran away he threw a phone at her. She ran to the bathroom and he came after her. When he caught her, he punched her. She then realized that he could kill her, that she could die. This thought was why she decided to leave.

In 2014, Gooden was at work and heard about Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice punching and knocking out his then- fiancee Janay Rice. Gooden heard people asking why she stayed and decided to tweet her own reason for staying using #WhyIStayed. Her tweets went viral within a matter of hours.

Gooden has been on numerous media outlets, including The New York Times, The Today Show, Good Morning America and many more. She now travels and speaks out against domestic violence. She educates people on the signs of domestic violence, why not to victim blame and how to prevent domestic violence.

Gooden said some signs of domestic violence are isolation, the person is always being checked up on by their significant other and cryptic social media.

She said to prevent domestic violence, people must observe, feel and speak. Gooden said to watch people and how they interact, and to have empathy for the victims. She also encouraged everyone to speak out in any way they are comfortable, whether it be over social media or in person.

“I just hope that the conversation starts,” said Oklahoma City junior and member of the Title IX student advisory board Maddy Saldivar. “That the language is more normalized and that it makes people feel more comfortable to come to the Title IX office and get the help that is available there . Just make it more normal conversation, not something that is harder than it already is to talk about.”