Domestic Violence Survivor Shares Her Story to Inspire Others

Lavon Morris-Grant lay on the kitchen floor of her neighbor’s house, bleeding from the head, waiting to die.She had run from her home after being shot multiple times by her husband. She managed to get her children out of the home unharmed and asked her neighbor to take the kids to the basement and keep them safe.That was 17 years ago.Miraculously, Lavon survived. She shared her story with more than 150 people at the Verizon Wireless Technology and Tomorrow’s Vision event during the recent BlogHer ’12 conference. Verizon Wireless, through its HopeLine program, is a longstanding supporter of efforts to raise awareness of domestic violence and aid in its prevention. Lavon urged the bloggers in attendance to use their online platforms to talk about domestic violence and let survivors know about the tools and options available to help. “This is an issue to be discussed every day, not just in October during Domestic Violence Awareness Month,” Lavon said.Looking back on that tragic day, Lavon said she was ready to die. “I was tired. I was shot in the head, and like they say on TV, when you are shot in the head, you usually do not survive. But something inside me kept telling me you’re not going to die, not today.”Lavon said her husband shot and killed himself that same day 17 years ago. Prior to that incident, her husband was never physically violent with her. He had threatened her often and had at times taken away her vehicle and her access to money to keep control. Months before the shooting, Lavon had left her husband and moved to a battered women’s shelter. She returned to her former home to help the children prepare for school when the shooting occurred.After recovering, Lavon committed herself to sharing her story, offering hope to women in similar circumstances. She also wrote a book about her experience, titled “Whom Shall I Fear: A Spiritual Journey of a Battered Woman.”Maile Zambuto, chief executive officer of the Joyful Heart Foundation, said discussing the issue of domestic violence is key to bringing an end to the violence.“Domestic violence thrives in darkness, in shame and in fear,” said Zambuto, adding that sharing these stories helps ignite and foster an open dialogue about how to collaboratively end the cycle of violence and abuse.At the Verizon Wireless luncheon, the Joyful Heart Foundation, founded by actress and advocate Mariska Hargitay, also received a $10,000 grant from the Verizon Foundation to support its efforts.