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Stylists Are Cutting Hair AND Cutting Out Abuse

Hair Stylists Help Victims
Hair colorists and stylists can now play a unique role in aiding clients who are in abusive relationships. Because cosmetologists may notice bruises and injuries on their clients while working, they are in an opportune situation to talk about what is happening at home.
Be Careful
A few words of caution are appropriate here. First, do not put yourself in danger to help your client. Confronting the perpetrator is the last thing you want to do; you could put yourself and your client at risk. Secondly, your client will not trust you if you do not maintain confidentiality. By being a resource for her, you will operate as another safety net in her life.
Leave the Counseling to the Counselors
Know that no matter how abused a woman is, she probably will not leave her partner after one episode of violence. Or two or three or four, for that matter. Leaving a violent partner is a very long process. Often a victim will declare that she is leaving her partner for good, only to return to him the next day after she receives a dozen roses. Only when she gets emotionally or physically abused again does she think about leaving. And then, a love note from her partner makes her want to make it work. Because their partners are not "all bad all the time,- victims of domestic violence remember the times that are good too. So try not to be too judgmental as this process occurs. You may not understand it, but you have not walked a mile in her shoes. Just stay focused on listening. Encourage her by telling her that she is doing well under the circumstances, and remind her that no one deserves to be abused.
Only One Thing You Have to Do
One concrete thing you can do for your abused client is give her the national domestic violence hotline number: 1-800-799-SAFE. They have received over two million calls to date from victims across the nation. 
When you notice inexplicable bruises, all you need do is give her the phone number for help.

By Michelle Simmons
Get Hair Jobs, Contributing Editor

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