By Gabriela Laracca
Domestic violence is a silent epidemic that affects almost everyone, whether directly or indirectly. Beverly Gooden, a public speaker and advocate for the cause, is coming to speak at KU to empower those who face abuse.
Gooden is a domestic abuse survivor and is the creator of the #WhyIStayed Twitter movement. The creation of the movement “was a direct result of the victim blaming that I witnessed on social media the day that the Ray Rice video was released,” she said. “I just wanted people to know that it’s not easy to just pick up and leave a violent situation.”
The abuse she faced caused her to tweet on behalf of Janay Rice. The tweets went viral causing more and more women to speak out about why they stayed.
Gooden has spoken on many campuses and other outlets such as The Washington Post and Dr. Phil, yet she believes speaking on college campuses is of utmost importance. “College is a vulnerable time. There are so many changes; friendships, geographical location, finances; that it can be hard to know who is good for you and who is bad for you,” said Gooden.
She met her ex-husband while they were both in college and she said, “my goal is to show students what I lived [through], the things I didn’t identify as abuse, and how to move forward after abuse so people know it’s possible.”
ACE advisor Petritsa Chatzitziva, who has similar opinions as Gooden on domestic violence, explains that it is “important to move forward, accept your past and to be okay with your past,” which is the dominant message in Gooden’s story.
The lecture will also teach those who want to learn how to handle a situation in which a loved one is being abused. “I’m going to discuss ways that others can identify violence in a friend or family member’s life, and how to support that person without victim blaming,” said Gooden.
Anyone can attend the lecture—whether they want to educate themselves on these issues or are seeking comfort in a fellow survivor’s words.
“I am happy someone so down-to-earth is talking about how hard it is to face abuse,” said a KU student who wishes to remain anonymous. “It really is hard to leave, but I have followed Bev on twitter for a while now and the #WhyIStayed movement helped me grow stronger to escape my own abusive relationship.”
Sarah Deon, secretary of ACE and student here at KU, attended the original conference in which ACE sought out Gooden to speak on campus. “Beverly Gooden relates to everyone even if they are not in a situation like hers because [she] helps the people that oversee these types of situations to get help as quickly as they can,” she said.
For more information about Beverly Gooden, visit her website at http://www.beverlygooden.com.