Valerie LOVESMART Williams Learned About Healthy Relationships After Twenty Minutes That Almost Ended Her Life
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and we will continue our conversation with Valerie LOVESMART Williams, a victim of domestic violence who ended up in the hospital after being shot three times by her husband. Williams began to notice that many young people entered relationships without the emotional intelligence to handle or understand the emotions. She started contacting schools and speaking with students about “healthy” relationships. Williams took her experience and knowledge and created a LOVESMART curriculum. LoveSmart works with parents, community organizations, and other entities to ensure that young people can make healthy relationship decisions.
I asked Williams to share her story. She explained that her story is different from the typical story. After being married for 8.5 years, twenty minutes almost ended her life. Her husband shot, and one bullet hit her in the head. He then shot himself. Williams didn’t think she was a victim, mainly due to the stigma around victimhood. She was in the hospital for three days, and her husband, who also survived, called her and said that “he loved her and wanted his family back.”
Williams also felt guilt that most abuse victims are battered over several years, and she only had one almost life-ending experience. She shared that she needed to learn about healthy relationships.
I asked Williams about the cultural myths around relationships and if girls were still being told that if a boy hit them, it meant he liked them. Williams shares that there are many myths about relationships; some young women can be just as aggressive as young men. She shares that a young man had his fingers broken after not returning his girlfriend’s call. She speaks about teens tracking each other with their phones and checking in every hour with texts. Williams talks about a young man who sent his girlfriend 3000 texts in a month. And while 80% of parents don’t know that dating violence exists, it can start as young as age 11.
Williams developed the LOVESMART curriculum to educate our community about healthy relationships and what they look like. She has shared the LOVESMART with corporations, churches, and educational institutions.
For more information about theLOVESMART curriculum.
For more information on Valerie LOVESMART Williams