Over 10 years ago, I read Lavon Morris-Grant’s book, Whom Shall I Fear, and her story was so remarkable that I have never forgotten about it or her. I am pleased to have connected with her and to hear more about her and and what she does.
We often talk about healthy relationships but the focus tends to be on tips and advice on how to make relationships work. We do however also have to be mindful of who we end up in relationships with and if and when we do enter relationships, it is important to know what a healthy relationships look like and know when we are in abusive relationships.
In our interview, Lavon shares a little bit about herself and how she became an advocate for women and children who have been affected by domestic abuse as well as some information about relationships and abuse.
1) What is your name and what do you do?
My name is Lavon Morris-Grant and I am an International/national speaker on violence against women, and the author of the book, Whom Shall I Fear: A Spiritual Journey Of A Battered Woman. I am working on my second book, coming out in the new year, called Who Will Speak For My Children: Healing Through The Trauma. I am also a political activist and advocate for women who have been abused by their intimate partners, Marketing Consultant, an Entrepreneur and most recently the Founder/Executive Director of MACOSH Healing Network, whose vision is to connect children who have witnessed domestic violence in the home to therapeutic resources.
2) Please tell us how you maintain healthy relationships in your life.
Healthy relationships are not only about being with intimate partners, but also friendships and family. I balance healthy relationships by what and who people show me who they are.
I don’t believe in trying to change people or forcing them to see things my way in order for us to be friends, lovers or even family. I let my work and walk in life speak for what I believe in as a person, so this why you know when and after we meet what I’m pretty much about.
I avoid constant drama because women are truly dying and suffering horrible emotional, verbal, mental and physical abuses in their lives, especially African-American women. There’s still so much work to do!
3)You were selected for the spotlight, in part, because you have worked tirelessly to inform the public about domestic violence and how it can be prevented and stopped – can you tell us more about this cause?
When most people hear the word domestic violence, they usually don’t want to talk about it and if they do, they focus on the physical, thinking that is the only form of domestic violence.
Many women who have been abused physically will usually tell you that the emotional or verbal abuse was worse because broken bones will heal, but it takes so much more mental work to heal the mind and spirit.
Most women, including me, had to create a new recording in our heads to believe we are valuable, worthy, and lovable; and that can take many years of therapy and work. I really believe that if we can work with children from middle school age and up and begin to educate them on the values of who they are, build their self-esteem and the signs of someone trying to have power and control over them, we can create a generation of healthy adults and break down the system of patriarchy and the devaluation of girls and women.
In the meantime, I have to start where I am and work to change those who are willing, educate the society at large about the dynamics of domestic violence at every opportunity I’m given. I even go so far as making myself vulnerable and sharing my personal story of my husband who never physically abused, but in the end after I left him, he shot me four times; once in the head, thigh, buttocks and foot. My three children witnessed the shooting.
Once I got us out of the house to safety, my husband shot himself once in the right temple; shattering his brain and dying 2 days later. One of the most mentally, difficult realities of this incident was that many people blamed me for what my husband did, as is the case for so many other women who are or have been abused. In this society, we re-victimize victims all the time. Many children are witnessing abuse in the home and being abused as well and not receiving proper interventions to help them heal.
4) What advice do you have for women with regards to maintaining healthy relationships?
I believe it is just not the women’s responsibilities to take on learning, creating and maintaining healthy relationships. It takes two to be in a relationship and make it work. Both partners need to get to know who they are as people and adults and love themselves in the process before they start or continue jumping into one intimate relationship after another.
Believe people when they are showing you who they are instead of getting caught up in the outward appearance or financial status. Define what a healthy relationship looks like for you. Once you do find yourself in a healthy relationship, understand that it takes serious and committed WORK from both with compromise, flexibility and the willingness to change.
5) Is there anything else you’d like to share with The Healthy Black Woman community?
Please know that domestic violence is very complicated and is about one intimate partner having control and power over the other. So if there is abuse in any form in the relationship, there is not an equal, healthy balance of power. It is not advisable do couples counseling if abuse is present.
African-American women are the largest group of women being k!lled by their intimate partners than other groups of abused women. According to the Department Of Justice, 85% of abusers are men upon women. Over 10 million children, per year, witness domestic violence in the home. Domestic Violence is a societal issue; it affects us all; whether it’s at churches, schools, our neighborhoods and places of work.
You can visit Lavon’s website
Nomalanga helps Black women thrive in their lives and careers. She is a Social Commentator, an Editor at Your Black World , a former College Professor and Mrs. Botswana. Visit Nomalanga’s Facebook page or Follow her on Twitter