Advocate of the Year: Mikayla Williams

By: Shaelyn Stone
| Published 02/14/2024


THE WOODLANDS, TX -- Mikayla Williams is a licensed professional counselor and founder of Mindful Movements Counseling Center in The Woodlands. As a survivor of violence, she embodies what it means to be an advocate for survivors everywhere.

After escaping a highly abusive relationship with her high school boyfriend, where she was isolated from friends and family, threatened, strangled, and nearly killed, Mikayla engaged in counseling, journaling, self-reflection, and other means of recovery for her well-being. Part of her recovery included investing in her education and obtaining a master’s degree, which required an internship with the Montgomery County Women’s Center. There, she found space to use her experience to comfort and help others.

Later, she founded her counseling center and began hosting groups that support youth experiencing abusive relationships or dealing with the aftermath of abuse. These groups help young adults identify healthy and unhealthy relationship behaviors and find the resources they need to exit and recover from abusive situations.

“Domestic violence is incredibly misunderstood by the public. Information on healthy versus unhealthy relationships is lacking in everything we are taught in school. Dating violence is a spectrum - just because you don't have a black eye doesn't mean you aren't in a violent relationship. We must talk about these things so we can grow as a society. It’s so unbelievably prevalent and underreported. I hope that we can more easily identify abuse so that we can all advocate for ourselves, be healthier in our relationships, and support others,” Mikayla said.

Like the support she experienced on her healing journey, Mikayla hopes to raise awareness that advocacy does not always constitute a grand gesture. Instead, advocacy can be more subtle, like lending a listening ear, asking questions, and pointing to resources.

“I have big plans for things in the advocacy realm that I want to do in the future, but that doesn't mean I can't do things now in my day-to-day life. Everyone has something to give,” she said.

Mikayla has written several articles on dating violence and has been featured on podcasts for her work with young survivors. Her proudest moment was self-publishing a book about her experience under an anonymous title. In the future, she hopes to rewrite it and publish it with her name attached.

Mikayla will receive TCFV’s Advocate of the Year Award for creating safe spaces where young adults can discuss ways to end dating violence and for her support of strategic prevention initiatives in her community. She will receive the award at a local event on Feb. 28, 2024.

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