When Love Hurts It’s Time to Heal

Written by Sara Gatewood Blackwell & Alan Johnson 

We must be our own before we can be another’s.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson


Introduction –Domestic Violence & When Love Hurts’ Founder

Sara: Things are about to change.

Alan: That’s the only way things can improve.

Screenshot Valdosta Daily Times

Sara’s philosophy in a nutshell is that if you save or heal the children, you both save and heal the present and future generations. It’s a communication that comes through by actively caring and loving long before it’s too late. Art is an active and creative way to act on that commitment. After all what’s not to love when it comes to children and art?

Today most would agree that art can be used as an effective, creative and virtually non-invasive tool for the prevention of a range of poor health outcomes. In other words, as a formal or informal therapeutic tool, art can be used to not only combat social strife but can also readily prevent or appreciably lessen the effects and chances of a whole range of social ills from occurring in the first place.

Art used as both prevention and intervention is a tool that Sara Gatewood Blackwell has been putting to good use for literally decades. As well, art can continue to be used to ease or redirect the pains that occur in many domestic violence (DV) situations. Art is one of the many tools used by When Love Hurts. Here art is used in conjunction with individual and family therapy referrals and planning.

When Love Hurts (WLH) was founded in 2015 by Sara for the expressed purpose of using as many proven preventions and interventions as possible to relieve or altogether avoid the pressures associated with domestic violence (DV). One of the ways that WLH accomplishes this is by organizing a series of informative workshops and creative fundraisers throughout the year. Most of the content from those workshops appeared as articles in our own South Georgia newspaper the Valdosta Daily Times. Here’s an excerpt from an August 18, 2016 workshop that might have easily been entitled: Artists, Politicians & Therapists for Domestic Violence Intervention:

“The August 2016 When Love Hurts domestic violence workshop was a community success. There were professionally trained mental and domestic violence shelter workers on hand. Nearly all in attendance shared or listened to personal testimonies that ranged from an attempted decapitation to a wide range of economic and verbal abuses. All of those abuses were used with the expressed intent of controlling the abused and limiting their interactions with the outside world.”


“Determined to help those in the closed off world of domestic violence, the author of Playing While Hurt, Terri Steward, fired up the discussion with details about how she and others were prepared to continue intervening and disrupting generational domestic violence.” Terri walks the talk and creates ways for people to have good clean fun while partying with a purpose. Terri is an author who conducts various workshops and fundraisers throughout the year. Please contact her if you’d like her to speak to your organization, purchase her informative book, or if you have any other questions or concerns that you would like to address to her personally click here to do so.

January 13, 2017 Sara at NAACP Committee Meeting sharing that DV issues are a Civil Right issue.

As well, how verbal abuse plays a role in domestic violence has also been reported on by Sara in several articles. One of those articles is entitled: Understanding the Effects of Verbal Abuse, October 16, 2015 and you may read that by clicking here.

When Loves Hurts Co-Founder

Can we call it Overachievers Anonymous, although what is to be achieved is no less than expected? That is Alan’s working philosophy in a nutshell.

Alan Johnson 2007

Like Sara, Alan Johnson is literally obsessed with financial independence for all and especially for domestic violence victims, survivors and ultimately its winners. * We at When Love Hurts (WLH) submit that the best domestic violence interventions will at least seriously pursue or actually have financial independence as both its cornerstone and baseline. Success is the most acceptable measure of success.

Financial independence was the first and most passionate issue that Sara raised as it regarded DV, followed by WLH’s mission to garner pre-paid legal aid; of course. However, the research literature on the subject of financial independence for DV populations is at best regionally sporadic, far from culturally specific, and at worse virtually non-existent. In other words, that absence has created the opportunity for WLH to write its own literature on financial independence, cultural relevance, and other subjects. As well as any and all other consequential and relevant successes as they come in and are developed by WLH and others.

As is apparent from the Twitter image this is not a new subject, accomplishment, or pursuit. It is, however, a proven model with a well-documented history. No one can easily deceive the reader when you know the history, when you know exactly what it takes to succeed and what that success looks like.

That’s why the reader is asked to imaginatively replace the Black men in that Twitter image with domestic violence victims, survivors and ultimately its winners. Call them Overachievers Anonymous if you want. Either way it all took and takes social action. The winners are those who honor and observe the successful paths already laid out before them. Along with the active intent of forging our own path, a path that readily builds on previously identified successes, all of that will definitely allow us at WLH to surpass that image and to ultimately be prepared to protect our own.

Either way that Black Wall Street image replacement also frames what the success of domestic violence financial intervention for economic independence looks like to WLH, with pre-paid legal fees (and other WLH services) from those and other profit margins notwithstanding. We are pursuing a financial interdiction that is not only not often or currently discussed but when realized will definitely move many of us beyond the point of mere discussion, discussions which seemingly at times take on the characteristics of a revolving door of self-helped helplessness and frustration.

Men who are not abusers must consistently avail themselves as advocates and more. If that simply means just being themselves, all the better. Men can provide security, change the narrative, provide financial support to DV strangers, and behave in other ways that not only improves the discussion but more importantly produces the overall results that WLH unhesitatingly expects when the best of humanity is the driving force.

We are going to change the current DV financial reality with men’s help but men won’t be in charge, women like Sara will. I am a man and contend that men can’t be trusted until they can be trusted. Right now the steady stream of social media comments about women and the persistent gender inequalities in our society produces an atmosphere that deserves no less than distrust.

In short, we expect nothing less than the best from men for women and vice versa. We expect results and outcomes that go well beyond talk. Many men are already tired of talk and they are more than welcome to help drive this domestic violence social action that we call intervention. After all, its intent is to appreciably reduce the negative outcomes of domestic violence, with or without an expectation of political help. In the meantime, women ought not wait or depend on any unproven ally; be they man or woman.

Click here for Chapter One: A Brief Literature Review