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Beverly Gooden: From Human Resource Manager to Advocate for Domestic Violence Victims’ Rights

By Staff


bevgooden-new-use-this-oneBeverly Gooden, a human resources manager from Charlotte, N.C, created a global movement by typing three simple words on Twitter in response to a national incident of domestic violence in 2014: “#WhyIStayed.”

According to Gooden, she wrote the phrase, along with a succession of additional facts describing why she stayed in an abusive relationship with her then-husband, and former college sweetheart, because surviving domestic violence and abuse is a complex issue.

“I felt that people just don’t realize, asking ‘Why doesn’t she leave?’ is such a simple question for a very complex issue,” Gooden told the The Washington Post in 2014.

According to Gooden, she created the hashtag in an effort to enlighten people regarding the topic, and went on to list the various reasons she stayed in the relationship, in order to help explain why it can become difficult for some women to leave.

“He said he would change;” “I thought love would conquer all;” “my pastor told me that God hates divorce,” she said.

And, “She ended them all with ‘#WhyIStayed,'” the article stated.

Following the tweets regarding her experience with abuse, Gooden’s insights prompted thousands of responses, creating the “#WhyIStayed” campaign.

One individual stated via Twitter, “#WhyIStayed I was hit at home growing up. How was I to have learned relationships could be different?”

Another said, “Because “If I can’t have you, NO ONE will have you” was reinforced by my abuser daily. #whyistayed.”

Since Gooden began #WhyIStayed, she has not only become a social activist and speaker, but she has also become a women’s health advocate.

Recently, she created the Ella Mae Foundation, a not-for- profit she founded in the name of her grandmother, in order to provide practical support, guidance, and services to victims of domestic violence.

And, on Oct. 5, the Rochester YWCA ‘s “Empowering Women Luncheon,” will feature Gooden as the keynote speaker, from 12 to 2:30 p.m., at the Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center.

Visit for additional information regarding the luncheon.

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