A revealing look at why domestic violence victims stay with their abusers…and how they can ultimately leave. And survive.
One Saturday morning, Gooden is woken up by her husband shoving her off the bed for no discernible reason.
Despite her quick thinking and even quicker footsteps, her husband catches her, his sudden anger inexplicable. No words are exchanged. He begins to strangle her as he has done many times before.
With unflinching vulnerability, Gooden outlines in painstaking detail what she had to do to walk away and how others can use her experiences to escape their own abuse, from skimming the grocery money, to squirreling away personal belongings, to navigating a domestic violence shelter. She offers strategies for overcoming the barriers survivors often face, such as money, housing, overcritical social circles, or, most powerfully: love. Uniquely compassionate when it comes to the heartbreak of still loving one’s abuser, Gooden shares how she transformed and extended this love outward, using her story to encourage others to choose themselves. The voice and fire behind #WhyIStayed, Bev Gooden is exceptionally positioned to explore the many reasons victims stay in abusive relationships, and how they can muster the resources and motivation to leave.
Surviving is unlike any memoir of survivorship, given its nuance, compassion, and candor. Above all, it is an exquisitely powerful testament to Gooden’s healing, survivorship, and dedication to helping others do the same.
Bev Gooden is an award-winning social commentator, writer, and creator of the viral social media movement, #WhyIStayed. Her writing has appeared in the The New York Times, the Washington Post, and Time. She has been interviewed on Good Morning America, NPR’s On Point and All Things Considered, among other outlets. She lives in Houston, TX.
Introduction by the Author
Chapter 1: Stuck
Chapter 2: Choices
Chapter 3: Why We Stay
Chapter 4: No One Is Going to Save You
Chapter 5: A Theory of Justice
Chapter 6: Reinvention
Chapter 7: Touch
Chapter 8: Harm Reduction
Chapter 9: Tools for Healing
Chapter 10: Good Love
Chapter 11: Unstuck
About the Author
Gooden, creator of the #WhyIStayed movement, gets vulnerable and gives invaluable advice for domestic-violence survivors in her relatable first book. When Gooden posted the hashtag in response to the infamous video of NFL running back Ray Rice knocking out his then-fiancée, she went viral. At the time, she tweeted the many but oft-misunderstood reasons why she stayed in a violent relationship. Now, she expands on why she eventually left and offers support to those also experiencing abuse. Her directives allow space for people who aren’t ready to leave while also offering practical guidance for those who are, such as having an “escape bag” and outlining residency requirements in divorce filings. Gooden’s book is raw, especially when she’s writing about her complicated feelings towards her ex-husband, but also careful and conscientious. She draws on research and prevailing professional knowledge to analyze and reflect on her thinking process at the time of her abuse and in its aftermath. She also centers her experience as a Black woman, highlighting the struggles unique to survivors with intersecting identities and providing a perspective often left out of the domestic-violence conversation.
Beverly Gooden has written a brave, powerful, intimate book that takes us inside the dynamics of abusive relationships—why people stay, and how hard it can be to leave. The gift of Surviving is Beverly's honesty. Read Surviving to know that you are not alone in your own journey toward self-love after abuse. You will find yourself growing stronger with each page.
So much courage and deep understanding of the complex dynamics of abuse.
Beverly Gooden’s book is timely—and her honesty is both illuminating, helpful, and cathartic. It's not easy to tell the truth, but it's necessary.
12/6/22, Library Journal: Included in the self-help bestseller list for December.