BY MARK WEBER
A local ministry offering hope to those affected by domestic abuse is marking its fifth annual event raising awareness of the issue in Central Alberta.
Masquerade Ministries presents ‘I Am – Healing the Scars You Cannot See’ which is an evening of discovery revealing the true face of domestic abuse. The event runs Oct. 1st from 7 to 9 p.m. at the First Church of the Nazarene in Red Deer (#2, McVicar St.)
There will be a reception to follow, and complimentary non-alcoholic beverages and desserts will be served, organizers say.
The evening will include the annual moment of silence for women who have lost their lives due to domestic abuse. There will also be stories of hope from clients – both men and women – who have been served by Masquerade Ministries plus a feature performance about the effects of emotional abuse on an intimate partner.
Masquerade Ministries is a unique outreach to men who have hurt the one they love and helps to equip them to take responsibility, as well as ministering to those who have been affected by domestic abuse.
The ministry’s founders are Tiffany and Roy Mitton.
The Mittons describe the ministry as a community of people journeying through the realities of domestic abuse together through three core services – ‘Peace Makers’ for men who abuse and are taking responsibility for it and ‘When Home Hurts’ which is a support and empowerment group for women who have been affected by domestic abuse. More information can be found by visiting www.masqueradeministries.com.
Roy and Tiffany formed the ministry partly as a result of their own story – Roy was an abusive partner but ultimately took responsibility for his actions, sought help and also found strength and hope for change from his Christian faith. The couple now work closely to help others find hope for change and peace as they have.
Tiffany said she hopes people can see that when one in four relationships are affected by domestic violence – as one set of statistics indicates – a person can’t help but know someone who is affected.
“A lot of time, people don’t see it for what it is,” she said, referring to how hard it can be to see or even imagine in particular relationships.
Roy added that it’s infrequent that blatantly abusive behaviour would essentially spill out into the public eye.
“It’s happening behind closed doors – the World Health Organization says one in three (relationships) is affected,” he said, adding that many of those who approach Masquerade Ministries for help have been psychologically abusive at various times as well.
“That’s what the purpose of ‘I Am’ is about – to take a look and if we can understand abuse as a problem much sooner, what would that look like?”
Meanwhile, regular support and program meetings are held at CrossRoads Church – where Roy and Tiffany first shared their story publically.
Tiffany recalls simply wanting to share what they had gone through so as to help others.
People approached them after they shared their story to say they had been down that road as well.
As mentioned, part of the foundation for lasting changes stems from the couple’s faith.
“I’m not defined anymore by what I’ve done. I’m defined by who (God) is. And what he’s done for me. And that changed my heart,” said Roy. “It gave me the two things I needed – one was to be 100 per cent accountable for what I did but also 100 per cent able to never do it again. Because I wasn’t that person anymore.”
For more information about Masquerade Ministries, or about the coming special awareness building event, check out www.masqueradeministries.com.