Category Archives: The 26th Story

The 16th Story

In the USA, 1 in 10 children will experience sexual abuse before their 18th birthday, and 90% of these children will know their abusers.

Colonel Jeffrey Faries has served the City of Colonial Heights as a police officer for 25 years and has served as Chief of Police since 2006. Under his leadership, an entire household was held accountable for failing to protect their children from sexual abuse. In the USA, 1 in 10 children will experience sexual abuse before their 18th birthday, and 90% of these children will know their abusers.

The children in this case lived in the same house as their parents and grandparents. The grandfather was a known sex offender. When the children told their parents what their grandfather was doing to them, their parents did nothing. The entire family was arrested for neglect and abuse. “When you know you have sex offender in your household — that’s inexcusable.”

The 15th Story

“I wasn’t sure that I was in a bad relationship. I mean, I knew it wasn’t great, but doesn’t everybody fight?” Marcus seemed like a sweet, fun loving teenager but with Nivea he was controlling and abusive. At first it was the little things…Nivea didn’t spend enough time with Marcus, didn’t answer his texts fast enough, and spent more time with friends than with him. Nivea and her mom never imagined that the vibrant, outgoing young woman she had become would disappear to become the girl that Marcus wanted.

Nivea tried everything to please him – she changed her hair, went on a diet, stopped hanging out with friends, stopped wearing skirts, closed her Facebook account. Her mom knew that Nivea was acting different but she didn’t see the red flags.

When Marcus attacked Nivea in front of her friends, the responding police officer gave Nivea’s mom a brochure to The James House. Going to counseling makes Nivea ten times more likely to have healthy relationships as an adult. “I’m glad to have someone to talk to who doesn’t judge me but I’ll be honest. I’m still struggling. I’m trying to find the way back to being me.”

The 14th Story

Reflecting on her experience with The James House, Cora said “the most rewarding thing about volunteering was seeing clients a year later. They come to life…they move on to bigger and better things.

In 2005, Cora Hodges attended a workshop that would change the course of her career.

The James House gave a presentation on sexual and domestic violence, and Cora was so moved that she decided she wanted to volunteer. Today, she continues to help survivors of abuse as a Sexual Assault Response Coordinator at Fort Lee. Fort Lee is a growing community where every day 34,000 members of all branches of the military, their families, government civilians, and contractors work, learn, and play.

The U.S. Army and the leadership at Fort Lee are committed to eliminating sexual violence through the Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) program. In pursuing this mission, Fort Lee partners with The James House by referring survivors, organizing groups of volunteers, and inviting James House staff to educate service members.

Reflecting on her experience with The James House, Cora said “the most rewarding thing about volunteering was seeing clients a year later. They come to life…they move on to bigger and better things. To see how they look afterwards is amazing.”

The 13th Story

Featured in The Oprah Magazine, Vanessa Reese Crawford is the first African-American female Sheriff for the City of Petersburg. As Sheriff, she’s responsible for the inmates at the Petersburg City Jail and Jail Annex, and she often finds that their problems stem from past abuse. 14% of incarcerated men and 36% of incarcerated women have been abused as children. That’s about twice the frequency in the general population. The James House provides weekly support groups for survivors of abuse in local jails to build empowerment, coping skills, trust, healthy boundaries, parenting skills and more. Sheriff Crawford feels confident that if the abuse survivors in her jail receive support that they can leave jail and not come back. “You can go out, function in the community, and be a better person.”

The 12th Story

Mary was a shy 19 year old who often spoke with her hand in front of her mouth. On top of having cavities and gum disease, Mary was missing her front tooth, and she suffered from a severe infection from the partial that she had long outgrown.

Dr. Renae Roelofs, DDS met Mary, a survivor of domestic violence, through The James House. Dr. Roelofs has helped the Chesterfield community since 1985 when she opened Personal Dental Care, Inc with her husband. She has experience healing survivors’ smiles after years of neglect. “Often times, people who have suffered from violence have to shift their priorities, and dentistry goes on the back burner.”

Dr. Roelofs offered her services for free to Mary. She straightened Mary’s teeth and gave her a new permanent front tooth, giving her more self-confidence and a beautiful smile. Mary didn’t smile before, and she certainly is smiling now.

Music: Burst by Clark Strasburg from Common Tongue // // //

The 11th Story

The Catholic faith is known for its global reach and diversity, and in Chesterfield, St. Augustine Catholic Church embraces the growing numbers of Spanish-speaking parishioners. Associate Pastor Fidel Rubio serves as the bridge between the Anglo community and the Hispanic community. When Hispanic immigrants move to the area, Fidel says they are “looking for a dream, looking for a country, and looking for faith…a house that’s open.” Parishioners often look to the church as a trusted source for referrals to immigrant-friendly service providers.

Fidel connects Spanish-speaking parishioners to community resources like The James House. Each week, the church allows Elvira De la Cruz, Director of Programs and Services at The James House, to meet with parishioners in need and to hold support groups for adults and children affected by abuse. Since this partnership began, The James House has seen a 300% increase in the number of Hispanic clients they help. When asked about the partnership, Fidel says “The James House is a blessing for our community.”

Music: Untitled by Hill Bandcamp page: // Noisetrade: //

The 10th Story

When a husband & wife sought healthcare from the Care-A-Van, their outreach worker was stunned by the wife’s obvious facial injury. The worker called The James House Director of Programs & Services, Elvira De la Cruz, who was able to speak with the woman in private. Elvira discovered that the woman had been trafficked into prostitution from the ages of 13 to 19. Though her husband helped her escape, he became abusive when she became pregnant.

Elvira asked Dr. Janet Eddy, Care-A-Van Director of Medicine, to examine the woman alone as her husband paced anxiously just outside the door. Dr. Eddy determined the bruises and spinal fluid coming from her nose indicated a severe skull fracture. Though she pleaded with the couple to go to the ER, she never really knew what happened to the woman.

Service providers are often in the dark about what happens to victims after they leave their office, but some do get help. Dr. Eddy knows that each attempt to help a victim is a step in the right direction. She believes there is power in simply telling a victim that she does not deserve to be hurt. Even this small action can change the course of her life.

Music: The Garden is on Fire by Matthew Kid // //

The 9th Story

Dr. Reinhold Brand, Phil Munson, and the Evonik family understand first-hand the impact of domestic violence. In 2011, a production supervisor was visiting his girlfriend along with his son when her ex-boyfriend showed up.

The ex-boyfriend entered the home and shot and killed all three of them. Rocked by the loss of his friend and co-worker, Phil Munson, Hopewell Site Manager and Chairperson of The James House Board of Directors, was drawn even closer to the mission. Phil now has a strengthened conviction that his work in this field is essential.

Dr. Reinhold Brand, then Senior Vice President and General Manager of Evonik Corporation, believes that Evonik should support communities and nonprofit organizations in areas where Evonik has facilities because it is the right thing to do. He encourages employees at every level of the company to do the same.

The 8th Story

It’s a difficult task to win a custody case when your client is in jail. But that didn’t stop Chris Bernhardt, former pro bono fellow with Hunton and Williams LLP, to take on the challenge. Chris felt compelled to help Carolina, a domestic violence survivor who immigrated to the USA with her husband. Carolina’s husband, in the USA with authorization, was an abuser.

After a violent outburst, Carolina called the police and requested a protective order. Her husband told her that if she assisted the prosecutor, he would have her deported. Carolina testified anyway. True to his word, he called Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Carolina was arrested, and her children were returned to her husband. With the help of Chris and 2 other attorneys, coordinated by The James House, Carolina was released on a U Visa. A year later she reunited with her children on Christmas day.

Since serving as a pro bono fellow with Hunton and Williams LLP, Chris is now an Associate with the Bucci & Dix law firm.

Music: Traveler’s Song, Piano and Strings Session Version By Future of Forestry

The 7th Story

Becky McDonough, Executive Vice President of the Hopewell-Prince George Chamber of Commerce, sees The James House as a well-run business that has raised the bar for profit and nonprofit businesses.

The Hopewell-Prince George Chamber of Commerce is a membership organization serving 400 businesses to promote economic growth, workforce development, and community integration. In 2001 The James House joined the chamber with the goal of educating businesses about the impact of sexual and domestic violence and stalking in the community. To this end, The James House offers cost-free training and educational programming for local businesses, houses of faith, and schools.

McDonough says, “The James House takes a very sensitive and difficult subject and breaks it down in a way that we’re all comfortable addressing it and wanting to help eradicate it in our community.”