“Do you really know your next door neighbor?” This question is how she would always begin her story. She would remember to mention everything. Everything from the casual put downs, to the intense shouting, to the uncontrollable rage of her abuser. She would relive this experience every time she shared it, but it was always for the benefit of the listener. She’d relive the helplessness, the hopelessness, and the fear.
She would share this story with courage, to help spread awareness of a problem that can too easily be ignored: domestic violence. “I’d ask them this question because, honestly, do we really know what is happening with our neighbor? Or our friend? Or even a family member? The truth is: most of the time, we don’t!”
Standing and serving as an advocate for women who have been domestically abused has always been a burning passion for Betty. Her lifetime motto is one of simplicity and significance: “Give to the world the best you can, and the world will give back to you.” This motto, which is clearly the saying of a person dedicated to serving, stands as evidence of the attitude Betty has held throughout her entire life. Her life has seen its fair share of adversity and trials. But Betty feels that passing along her knowledge and experience is crucial to helping those who are or have been in situations of domestic violence, even if these experiences may be painful to relive. “The more I share about my experiences, the better I can help the person help themselves.”
Betty shared an example of the disdain her abuser would show her: “I remember when I decided to go back to college and get my degree. He told me ‘Don’t expect me to pay for it’. To which I responded ‘I already took out a student loan.’” Although Betty’s memories may be spotted with hurtful memories, she does remember the good events as well, such as how she graduated from college in three years while working full time to support her daughter. The drive within her was fueled by the compassionate need to feed her family and serve the community around her, as well as escape the grasp of her abuser. She also remembers the relief she felt when she decided to move from her native state of Connecticut to the Phoenix valley, and the new beginning she received here in Arizona.
Being fueled by the flame of wanting to make a difference in her community and the lives of others, Betty is a great ambassador for Faith House, the oldest operating facility in Arizona to aid those who have experienced domestic violence. Betty confidently believes that Faith House is a place of safety, comfort, and change, and stands as a place of hope for those looking to seek relief. Faith House also gives Betty a platform on which to share her story, and help those who may feel hopeless, afraid, or forgotten. Amazingly enough, Betty also finds time to serve as Chair of the Faith House Council and as a member of A New Leaf’s Board of Directors. Betty is very involved, facilitating many successful fundraising events, leading tours, giving advice and support. Betty has been a major part in A New Leaf’s effort to give aid to those in need.
Deb Oberhamer at A New Leaf gives her take on Betty’s service: “Everyone she meets, she shares about the amazing work being done there. Betty does not hesitate to ask others to support Faith House and A New Leaf since she gives so much herself–her time, her talent and treasure–even a gift in her will.” Betty stands as an example of service, an attitude of giving, and passionate drive to do what is right. Her courageous means and dedication has helped countless women escape the oppression of their abusers. She believes in a fulfilled life after abuse, and giving service, one day at a time. “I know if I have helped at least one person, I have met my goal.” Betty wants those suffering from domestic violence to know at least one thing: there is hope.
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