Activist Beverly Gooden talks about domestic violence

Sydney McClanahan, Reporter

Bakersfield College Student Government Association (BCSGA) hosted a webinar with distinguished guest speaker Beverly Gooden, on Oct 27.
Gooden is a social activist best known for creating a movement against domestic violence on Twitter, back in 2014, with the viral #WhyIStayed hashtag after escaping an abusive relationship.
Alyssa Olivera, BC’s campus advocate and the prevention education services supervisor for the Alliance Against Family Violence, said, “Gooden simultaneously increased awareness while providing a role model for victims and survivors.”
Gooden shared her story of domestic violence and the difficulties of escaping the toxic environment she experienced.
She described a morning where her then-husband got excessively violent and she started to fear for her life.
“This time I realized something for the first time, which was that he could kill me. It never crossed my mind that I could die in this marriage,” Gooden said. “I decided that I wanted to live more than I wanted to be with him.”
As a survivor, she explained how difficult it was to come to terms and discuss the emotional and physical abuse she had gone through.
“At the time I carried a lot of guilt that I had placed on myself and that I think society places on people who survive these types of relationships,” she said.
That guilt she felt lead her to tweet about the reason for staying with her abuser, following with the hashtag #WhyIStayed.
Unexpectedly, it created an entire movement to bring awareness to on a topic that was not often discussed.
“Issues often trended, but domestic violence wasn’t one of them,” she said. “It was kind of one of those things that happened, you heard about it, you got your victim blamed again and then you went on about your day.”
Gooden highlighted some of the key reasons why victims often stay in these types of relationships based on the responses she read from on Twitter. These include dependence, fear or threats, and love.
“I knew who he was the first few months of our relationship and who he had been to me. I believed that person was the real person who could come back, so I was waiting on that.”
She explained that most experience dating violence before the age of 25 and how many do not report the violence and abuse that occurs.
“One thing we do know for certain is that 57% of college students who report experiencing dating violence said it occurred in college,” she said.
She encourages people to keep and save the Alliance Against Family Violence and Sexual Abuse 24-hour Crisis Hotline: (661) 327-1091
“We don’t live in a just world. I believe we can work to make the world just, but as it stands it’s not.