Faith, singing helped abuse victim shatter the silence
Scott Swan/Eyewitness News
Marion County - An Indianapolis woman says her husband choked her during her pregnancy. Weslynn Whitlow reached for a gun but ultimately decided to find another way out.
Whitlow is now shattering the silence about domestic abuse by praising God through singing at Light of the World Christian Church on the northside of Indianapolis.
"It's a way to verbally express how much I love the Lord to praise and worship Him for everything He's done," said Whitlow. "When we sing 'We've come this far by faith' it means that I have come this far by faith. I mean, it was just God's grace and mercy that I made it through."
Whitlow credits God for delivering her out of an abusive relationship. Whitlow married her high school sweatheart but says her husband's drinking led to abuse while she was pregnant.
"He started drinking and then he became a different person. He wasn't the same person I married," said Whitlow.
"I was about four months pregnant when he tried to choke me," said Whitlow. "I had a gun and I really wanted to kill him so the abuse would stop. But I realized that I had a child to raise and God would not want me to do that."
Whitlow kept the abuse a secret, telling only God.
"I prayed and I asked God, 'If you want to stay, help me deal with this. If not, give me some money to get out.' And I came into some money and I left," said Whitlow. She left her husband in the middle of the night when her baby was eight months old. That was 17 years ago.
Whitlow joined a group of other abuse victims in a support group called "Abigail's Ministry."
"The mission behind this ministry is to help women become whole," said the Reverend Toni Colbert who founded the group. "Those who've been in past abuse, those who want to move forward in life and just seem stuck and can't do it. That's the vision."
"The goal of Abigail's ministry is to really touch the lives of women of past abuse. And help them to realize their potential and to just move forward and grow in Christ," said Whitlow.
Reverend Colbert says Light of the World Christian Church supported the idea of a ministry that would address domestic abuse victims.
"It's very important for the church today is to be relevant. In order to be relevant, you've got to have your thumb on what's going on in the community," said Colbert.
Colbert acknowledges there are churches that don't talk about abuse. "No one wants to show the ugly side, the dark side. No one wants to show sin. No one wants that exposed. And as long as it is hid it'll never be exposed and people won't heal. And they won't grow."
Whitlow says the Abigail's Ministry enabled her to heal. The Indianapolis accountant dreams of opening up a shelter one day to help other victims of abuse. Until then, she'll sing in the church choir.
"Every day when I'm singing, I'm thanking God for my health and my strength and my courage to be a strong Christian woman and be the example for my son," says Whitlow.
For more information about "Abigail's Group", contact Rev. Toni Colbert at Light of the World Christian church at 317-254-5851 ext. 207 or email email@example.com.