Op/Ed By Gloria Winston –
Every now and then, I’m reminded of the reasons I even bother with Facebook, and how important social media can be when websites have the ability to reveal positive spirits and genuine angels through networking and sharing information.
An important organization called Healing After Domestic Violence (HAD) has recently made it onto my radar screen, via the proud fiancée of the group’s founder.
The organization’s founder is Dr. Angelia Riggsbee, and she is a resident of Durham, NC.
Her name, laden with irony (ANGEL-ia); the fact that she is a sister Leo; and that she resides in my mom’s home state have made me pay attention not only to her personal testimony, but to the mission and vision statements that describe her organization.
Community advocates, locally, who provide similar resources to our community include Jackie Dozier, Melanie Funchess, and, of course, Geena Cruz.
My former mentee, Dr. Alisha Rorer, who now lives in Atlanta, is also saving lives by focusing on the plight of fathers.
What has always been important to me is how powerful effective networking can be, and how much stronger we become as a community when we take the time to acknowledge and promote the efforts of someone who is saving lives.
And, I believe women especially need to promote and support each other whenever the opportunity presents itself.
We all know someone who is in an abusive situation.
And, although none of us may really know what goes on behind someone else’s closed doors, we probably have our suspicions.
Many of us, just like Dr. Riggsbee, may also be survivors of domestic violence.
In addition, some of us know domestic violence/abuse is not always physical in nature.
Sometimes the abuse may be verbal, and the abuser’s words may be so hurtful the victim may wish the abuse had been physical, just so that the pain wouldn’t last as long.
Much like Dr. Riggsbee, I survived the sick mind of an alcoholic.
However, after three years, I knew I had to get out.
On the contrary, Dr. Angelia Riggsbee suffered domestic violence and abuse for 25 years, and she was left for dead after her former husband ran her over with his car.
As I said, none of us may know what another woman is experiencing behind closed doors.
Some women may also be ashamed to face up to the fact they have made a bad choice, and they may stay in a relationship, and suffer because of their children, not realizing there is nothing you can hide from kids.
I found myself wanting to help further the goals of this organization, and the important work that it’s doing, after envisioning the strength it must have taken for Dr. Riggsbee to survive such horrific treatment.
Dr. Angelia has turned her pain into passion, by founding HAD.
She has taken the lemon life handed her, and made more than one pitcher of lemonade.
She put on her big-girl panties, and determined that her painful experiences were the experiences she would call upon to help other women in need.
But, God!! It just amazes me that most women would simply have been more than happy to put the past behind them.
Dr. Riggsbee is a strong, dedicated servant of God, to put herself in a position to relive that pain, whenever she speaks, conducts a workshop, or trains others to fight abuse.
The following are excerpts from HAD’s well-written brochure that caught my attention:
- “The mission of HAD serves to end domestic violence, empower survivors and educate companies, organizations and communities nationwide on the effects of domestic violence.”
- “The vision of HAD envisions enhanced social corporate responsibility by education and reduction of rising expenses related to domestic violence such as health care costs, expenses due to low productivity, absenteeism and high turnover in the workplace.”
- “HAD will continue to work towards being recognized as a national leader in this effort.”
- “HAD specializes in Consulting, Training, Conducting Workshops, Speaking Engagements and Keynote Addresses on Domestic Violence. In addition, we provide, Police, Procedure and Assessment Development; Comprehensive Organizational Assessments; Workplace, Violence Training, Develop Domestic /Violence Curriculum; Coordinate resources for victims of domestic violence and provide support for survivors of domestic abuse. Other services provided include Resource Referral, Court Advocacy, Support Groups, One-on-One Counseling, Community Outreach, Crisis Counseling, Self Sufficiency Services, Career Readiness, Financial Literacy Education, hospital Accompaniment, Teen Empowerment Programs and Legal Advocacy/Information.”
Thus far, Dr. Riggsbee has conducted trainings at Duke University, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina Central University and several other organizations in the triad area.
She has also consulted with the U.S. Department of Defense, to train military service personnel regarding domestic violence.
Consequently, on January, 12, 2011, Dr. Riggsbee was honored as the recipient of the city of Durham’s Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award, for her courageous and humbling service relative to domestic violence.
And, there is little doubt in my mind that her message should be heard by a wider audience.
I believe her testimony would no doubt help those who are struggling with domestic violence.
Dr. Riggsbee has also served and been recognized as a member of the mayor of Durham’s Domestic Violence Task-Force, for which she currently serves as chairperson of the organization’s youth division.
She has also been a longstanding member of the North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault, and volunteered her services as a trained counselor and court advocate through a variety of agencies such as the Durham Crisis Response Center, and Families Living Violence Free.
HAD is a not-for-profit 501(c)3, and is eligible to receive tax deductible contributions. HAD Consulting is an LLC (Limited Liability Corporation).
You can visit the organization’s website at www.HEALINGAFTERDV.com, for additional information, or to make a donation.
Dr. Riggsbee also has a Facebook page, and she can be contacted by email at email@example.com.
HAD’s mailing address is: Healing After Domestic Violence, c/o Dr. Angelia Riggsbee, P.O Box 11984, Durham, NC 227703.
The organization’s phone number is 919.307.7613, and her cell phone number is 919.697.9099.
Please share this column with your network. Someone you know may need HAD’s resources.
And, if it is you, don’t hesitate to say so.
Also, if you are in need of a speaker with a powerful testimony, please consider Dr. Angelia Riggsbee.
She is a boss!!