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#WhyIStayed Domestic violence survivor shares her story

Beverly Gooden realized she wanted to live more than being married to her husband when he pushed her out of bed one morning.

“Every time he had been violent to me, there had been a reason,” Gooden said. “But what could you be doing when you’re sleeping? I realized for the first time it wasn’t me.”

Social advocate and public speaker Beverly Gooden stopped by UNH on Wednesday night where she gave her “Why I Stayed” speech to an audience in the Strafford Room. Gooden has appeared in the New York Times, “Good Morning America”, “The Today Show” and CNN.

Gooden’s presentation began with a visceral video, showing a woman’s face covered in bruises and wounds, progressively getting worse as the video went on.

“Imagine what it’s like to be that girl,” Gooden said. “Falling in love, being happy. And then something goes terribly wrong.”

Gooden shared her own story, where her boyfriend-turned-husband hit, choked, punched and bit her until she left in 2010.

When Gooden told the story about being pushed out of bed, she shared how she ran into the bathroom where he then punched her in the face.

“That was the first moment I realized I could die,” she said.

Fast-forward to the release of the Ray Rice domestic violence video in September 2014, Gooden began tweeting her responses to the overwhelming display of “victim blaming.”

People kept asking why Janay Rice didn’t leave, asking why did she stayed.

Gooden fought back, posting her reasons of why she stayed.

The #WhyIStayed hashtag began trending with thousands of people sharing their experiences on Twitter.

“Domestic violence isn’t something that usually trends,” Gooden spoke of her surprise to the hashtag reaction.

Gooden also shared the stories of other domestic violence victims. She spoke of one college student from Chicago who was working at a Nordstrom’s department store when her ex-boyfriend came in, shot her in the head and then killed himself.

“Fifty seven percent of college students who report experiencing dating violence said it occurred in college,” Gooden said. “That’s you, right here, right now.”

Gooden closed her presentation with three ways to prevent domestic violence: observe, feel, speak.

Gooden was brought to the university by the MUB, Student Life, Health Services, SHARPP and MUSO.

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