According to non-profit organizations like Survivors Advocating for Effective Reform (SAFER) and Alternatives for Battered Women (ABW), the nationwide epidemic of domestic abuse continues to increase.
“We must educate the community about the existence and dangers of domestic violence, to remove as many barriers as we can, to encourage victims to seek the help they have so long been denied and deserve,” said Geena Cruz, chair for Coalition of Black Trade Unionist Women Committee, and interim president for Survivors Advocating for Effective Reform (SAFER). “Statistics show that there are two places domestic violence abusers will “allow” their victims to go unaccompanied and on a regular basis: to their ob-gyn doctor and their hairstylist.”
As a result, on Oct. 25, Cruz, two seniors at Greece Olympia High School, Melayka Brown-Cruz and Chasity Brandon, a local survivor, Valerie Coleman and several others held “Shine the Lights On Domestic Violence Day;” and decided to collaborate efforts with some area beauty salon and barbershops to “Cut It Out,” taking a different approach to spreading the word regarding domestic violence.
They provided area salons and barber shops with Cut It Out/Alternatives for Battered Women desk cards, posters, information and referral services in both English and Spanish.
They also asked the stylists and barbers to become members of “Barber Shops and Salons Against Domestic Abuse –CUT IT OUT.”
Accordingly, Cruz said they informed the salons and barbers that their role would solely be to provide an outlet for materials and information about domestic violence to let victims know help is available, and that they are not alone.
Organizers said they placed the materials on their counters and in their bathrooms, along with posters they said they planned to hang up, not only in October for Domestic Violence Awareness Month, but year-round.
CUT IT OUT: Salons Against Domestic Abuse is a program of the PBA Foundation, program officials said.
In addition, officials said the program has been dedicated to mobilizing salon and barber shop professionals, as well as community members, to fight domestic abuse in communities across the U.S. by building awareness, and training salon professionals to safely refer clients, colleagues, friends and family to local resources.
Domestic violence is often the “secret” that most victims are afraid to share, according to SAFER officials.
Additionally, many people may not know there are confidential agencies such as Alternatives for Battered Women, National Domestic Violence Hotline, and other organizations available to help them, officials stated.
In addition, those who do know may still be too scared to report it, seek orders of protections, pursue criminal charges, and obtain the services.
There are also programs, like RESOLVE/Stand Up Guy, a program designed for men to stand up when hearing others talking inappropriately about abuse.
And, according to program officials, one in four women, and one in seven men, will face domestic violence in their lifetime.
If you know someone facing domestic violence, or in need of assistance in Rochester and surrounding areas, call the following organizations:
Alternatives for Battered Women – 585-232-7323
RESOLVE/Stand Up Guys – 585-425-1580585-425-1580
National Domestic Violence Hotline – 1-800-799- SAFE (7233)