Mary Beth Burkes of Harman Memorial Baptist Church in Grundy, VA remembers feeling lost and hopeless as a victim of domestic violence. In the interview below, she shares how God has used her pain to help others in her role as a domestic violence advocate in her county.
How does your relationship with the Lord help in working with victims of domestic violence?
I love the story of the woman at the well found in John 4. The kindness, compassion, and concern Jesus showed to this woman are so touching—the hope He brought into her life, the Living Water. Victims of abuse are desperately looking for hope and stability. Jesus, the Living Water, provides that, and He is the Wellspring that I drink from for strength and wisdom in knowing how to respond with each victim.
Have you seen any success stories?
There are so many, which I am so thankful to have been a part of, watching Jesus work in lives. It is amazing!! There are many who have completed their college degrees, bought their own homes, and have a new outlook on their lives and how they were created with a purpose. It is such a beautiful thing to watch someone who was so downcast and beaten down begin to know their worth.
What advice would you give someone working with a victim of domestic violence?
Be familiar with the domestic violence programs in your area. Remember, domestic violence is a cycle, and it may take a victim to leave between seven to nine times before they stay away. Keep praying for them. Help develop a safety plan. Pray, pray, pray!!! And love, love, love!!! Also, it is easy to think that only women are abused. While it is true that women are more prone to be the victim of domestic violence, men, too, can be victims.
If you need information in dealing with victims of domestic violence, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org