Advocate and #WhyIStayed creator, Beverly Gooden, visits Peru State College

Advocate and #WhyIStayed creator, Beverly Gooden, visits Peru State College

March ?, 2020
Contact: Jason Hogue, Director of Marketing Communications, 402-872-2429

Peru, Nebraska – Victims’ rights advocate and creator of the viral hashtag, #WhyIStayed, Beverly Gooden visited Peru State College as part of the campus’s Distinguished Speaker Series on March 2. 

Beverly Gooden’s presentation broke down the myths and misunderstandings around domestic violence to illuminate the complex reasons why victims stay in abusive relationships and what you can do to help. Recently the “me too” movement has shown us what our society considers acceptable can be changed by the work of many individuals coming together to speak with a unified voice.

Gooden spoke intently on the nature of victim blaming, and how it comes from a concept of escapism. She said, “I hear people say all the time, it couldn’t happen to me. What happened to you would never happen to me. I would never be abused, I would never be in an abusive relationship. I’m too strong, I would never find myself in that situation. People say that to me all the time, to my face… It’s a belief, they really truly believe it cannot happen to me.”

Another component to victim blaming was the idea of a “just world.” She said, “If something bad happened to you, you brought it on yourself, you did something to deserve it. You wore something to invite it. It’s that line of thinking that bad things don’t happen to good people, and a lot of people actually believe that. We know that the world is not always just. I believe we can make the world just.”

Gooden expressed her belief that it was integral to change the discussion from victim blaming to revolving around supporting victims of domestic violence and helping them escape their abusive circumstances.

Gooden appears in a vibrant pink dress.

Beverly Gooden

About Beverly Gooden

Known for creating the viral Twitter hashtag #WhyIStayed in the wake of several high-profile domestic violence incidents, Beverly sparked a national conversation about how society views victims, while calling for a community response to this important social issue.

Drawing on her own gripping tale of overcoming an abusive relationship, Beverly provides you with a personal account of how it feels to live in fear and why it’s so difficult for individuals to leave those who exert physical and emotional control over them.

On stage, Beverly lays the groundwork for critical conversation about the dynamics of abusive relationships, while revealing ways that you can help, including the important questions to ask those who you suspect are being abused. With unguarded honesty and palpable passion for changing lives for the better, she empowers audiences to expose their own stories and discover their role in ending domestic violence.

Why I Stayed: The Complexity of Domestic Violence

“Why I Stayed” is a revolutionary speech by Beverly Gooden, renown social activist and creator of the #WhyIStayed hashtag and global movement. In this radical talk, Gooden challenges the question “Why did he/she stay?” and reveals how the current way we interact with survivors is a house of cards. From faulty blame attribution, to designating only men as abusers, it’s easy to overlook the sheer volume of domestic violence when the issue has historically been framed as “them” and not “us”.

That’s why, as Beverly argues, domestic violence is a community issue. Victims of violence can be women and men, LGBTQ and heterosexual, or even children. Victims of violence may have fought back, or remained silent. There is no perfect victim and no specific type of abuser. Beverly discusses her personal domestic violence story, reveals the most important questions to ask victims, and outlines how we all can help.

About the Distinguished Speaker Series

Peru State established the Distinguished Speaker Series in 2010 as part of a commitment to student engagement and success. The intent of the Series is to bring diverse, nationally and internationally recognized speakers to southeast Nebraska to enrich the educational experience of students while also providing regional communities more opportunities to engage in interesting and relevant topics.

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Quentin Victor contributed to this release