Social Rights Activist, Domestic Violence Survivor Beverly Gooden to Speak at Baylor

Feb. 15, 2016
Beverly GoodenBeverly Gooden courtesy photo.

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Contact: Terry Goodrich,(254) 710-3321

WACO, Texas (Feb. 15, 2016) – Beverly Gooden, a social rights activist and the woman behind the hashtag #WhyIStayed, will be speaking from 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 16 in the Jones Concert Hall of the Glennis McCary Music Building.

Her topic, "Why I Stayed/The Complexity of Domestic Violence," details the intricacies involved in trying to leave an abusive relationship and how hard it can be to get out. Gooden calls for society to support women trying to escape domestic violence and asks that we understand it's not as easy as it looks to leave an abusive partner.

"Beverly Gooden gives important insight on domestic violence sensitivity, social justice and the power of storytelling, and also offers valuable messages of hope, opportunity and resilience," said Amy Kellner, the academy lectures series coordinator for the Academy for Leader Development.

Gooden survived a violent marriage and left her abusive husband in 2010. She started the #WhyIStayed movement without intending to, as a reaction to the viral video of Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Rice assaulting his now-wife Janay Palmer in an elevator. Frustrated that viewers were asking "Why doesn't she leave?" instead of considering the injustice of domestic violence, Gooden sent out the tweet that resulted in a massive movement and led her to become an activist.

Kellner said the Academy for Leader Development brings in speakers to "introduce students to the variety and complexity of leadership needs in contemporary society."

As a survivor of domestic violence, and a leading modern-day activist, Gooden has led a global movement against domestic violence while taking into account the complexities of such a movement, Kellner said.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, nearly 20 people are physically abused by an intimate partner per minute in the U.S., more than 10 million women and men per year.

"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," Kellner said. "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."

Kellner hopes students will be leaders in taking a stand against this kind of injustice.

"Social media has given activists an immediate platform to advocate from, as well as a broad social circle where your message can be heard," she said. "This media outlet often allows activists to go straight to their intended target with quantifiable support behind them."

This event is free and open to the public. The Glennis McCrary Music Building is located at 110 Baylor Ave.

by Jenna Press, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.

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