An old Swedish Proverb says, “A joy shared is a double joy. A burden shared is half a burden.”
In an effort to help share the burdens of abused women in the Tri-Cities area, Kingsport resident Dianne Scott offers hope and encouragement through a newly-formed support group called L.O.V.E. A victim of abuse as a child, Dianne has experienced the benefits of being able to share her testimony with others who have been through similar situations.
“We can experience personal growth by sharing our stories and offering support to one another,” she said.
With a strong desire to reach out to victims of abuse, Dianne and her friends, Melissa Lawson and Margie Sweat, founded L.O.V.E. (Ladies who are Overcomers living Victoriously and Empowering others). The purpose of the support group will be to help women be overcomers, not just survivors.
“Everyone can be an overcomer. We are survivors but we also overcame our situation and became joyful human beings,” Dianne said. “That is the purpose of what we’re doing - to let women know that they don’t just have to survive. They can be happy, have a purpose, prosper, and be the person God wants them to be,” she added.
Although L.O.V.E. will not provide professional therapy, they will offer moral support, encouragement and hope. “We’re not therapists, although therapy is strongly supported,” Dianne said.
At the support group meetings, women will be greeted by friendly mentors who are abuse overcomers themselves. Volunteers will share their testimonies and small groups will discuss a particular issue that is faced by the women who have suffered abuse. Each person who attends will receive a folder containing worksheets, journal sections, goal setting exercises and information on places they can go for help if needed. Dianne explained that the focus of the meetings will not be about past abuse, but will challenge them to change their lives.
“One of L.O.V.E.’s core beliefs is that our past does not define us. We’re going to try to make sure that people don’t just talk about the past, but about where they want to go from here. Changes can’t happen unless you’re willing to do something about it,” she said.
According to Dianne, every nine seconds a woman is physically abused. She pointed out that abuse also takes many other forms such as sexual, financial, verbal or psychological.
“We at L.O.V.E. recognize that all abused women, regardless of the type of abuse, face similar challenges. Together, with God by our side, we can support each other and grow to be the person we were intended to be,” she said. Dianne said that L.O.V.E. was created by women of faith, who believe that Jesus Christ is the greatest hope and authority they have to offer. “How to trust God’s plan in the midst of life’s difficulties is the key,” she said.
Meetings are open only to women who have been abused. There are no dues or fees. “We ask only that you come with a willingness to share, and have the desire to grow into the person you were intended to be,” Dianne said. She invites women who are suffering from abuse to take the first step and come to a meeting. “Many women have gone years just surviving,” she said. “Living a joy-filled life is a journey. Regardless of where you are on that journey, you are welcome to attend our support group,” she added.
Starting on August 4, meetings will be held every Saturday from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Mafair United Methodist Church Prospect Center located at 1425 East Center Street in Kingsport. Volunteer mentors are needed to help at the team meetings. All volunteers must be abuse overcomers. Also needed are donations of snacks, water, paper products and money to cover other expenses. For more information regarding L.O.V.E., contact Dianne by email at [email protected]
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” - I Corinthians 13:13.