A local ministry offering hope to those affected by domestic abuse is marking its third anniversary with a special event Sept. 11th.
‘Unmasked’ will be held at the First Church of the Nazarene from 6:30 to 9 p.m.
The evening begins with a silent auction followed by music, a message from guest speaker Justin Flunder and the ministry’s founders Tiffany and Roy Mitton.
Afterwards, folks can join in Masquerade Ministries’ anniversary celebration hosted by Dora from the first season and Christmas special of Master Chef.
Organizers say the focus of ‘Unmasked’ is to raise awareness of the prevalence of domestic abuse, to show it’s happening in the some of the lives of those we know and love, and to show how Masquerade Ministries can help.
Masquerade Ministries is a non-profit organization that offers freedom from domestic abuse through hope and grace by reaching out to men who have hurt the ones they love and supporting those who have been affected by domestic abuse.
The Mittons describe it 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; ‘When Home Hurts’ which is a support and empowerment group for women who have been affected by domestic abuse and ‘Faith, Family and Violence’ – a workshop that aims to equip people to understand and identify the dynamics of domestic abuse.
More information can be found by visiting www.masqueradeministries.com.
Roy and Tiffany come from a unique place in terms of the ministry, in that Roy said he has found freedom from the abusive ways that the ministry seeks to end. “Now, finding both the freedom and healing necessary to move forward, they have dedicated their lives to helping others do the same,” notes a press release.
“Tiffany and I founded the ministry about six years ago,” explained Roy. “This year, we have grown so much in the last 12 months that we wanted to ‘unmask’ what we are doing. Really, it’s not about Roy and Tiffany the way it used to be – we were the story about domestic abuse and what can happen if it’s treated in a certain way.
“But there are so many stories. And this is something that is kept so in the dark. When it’s happening, there is stigma that some people will hide it. Something that is often said is that domestic abuse is something that is born, thrives and lives in isolation.”
Roy also pointed out that domestic abuse touches virtually any sector of society. “It crosses every line that you can imagine. And the second part is sometimes it doesn’t look the way you might think it would look.” For example, abusers of course don’t always look like they would be ‘abusive’.
“We are also trying to put a face on those who are being controlled and hurt.”
As mentioned, part of what the Mittons do is offer help to abusers who are willing to take responsibility for their actions and are trying to change their behaviour. “I lived in that until I was 33,” recalls Roy. “We need to reach out to them and offer hope.”
He describes domestic abuse as consisting in part of power, control and the sense of entitlement to carry those things out. According to the Ministry, statistics show that one in four women will be abused by their intimate partner in the communities of Central Alberta.
According to the City of Red Deer, domestic violence can, “Include mental, physical, sexual and/or emotional abuse by one partner toward his or her partner, their children, or the elderly and disabled. Abusers may try to intimidate or control their victims by destroying personal property, withdrawing access to children or pets, or keeping victims from contact with friends or family.”
Obviously it’s a complicated issue, and Roy emphasizes that the ministry doesn’t claim to have all the answers. But building awareness is critical, and promoting discussion is also a very important aspect in facing the issue as we whole.
Roy said he and his wife first shared their story publically at CrossRoads Church. He was concerned the couple might be ostracized. “You could hear a pin drop both times we spoke that day,” he recalled. “It was about me accepting absolute responsibility for what I did, and saying that I did not have the entitlement to do these things.”
Over the years, support for the ministry has grown as it reaches more and more people as well.
“The real cycle of domestic abuse lies in that perpetrator who again and again and again destroys lives and families and moves on to the next one. Until we also reach out to that person and engage them to bring them in and get them the help they need, this will not end.”
Again, for more information, visit www.masqueradeministries.com.