We catch them up on the gossip in our lives, we tell them our secrets and we consider them friends.
Women have a special relationship with their hairdressers.
It would only make sense, then, for salon professionals to be trained to know when the women in their chairs have suffered from domestic violence.
That is where the Elkhart County Women’s Shelter is looking to get involved, training employees at local salons to recognize signs of abuse and get their clients help.
“One in four women fall victim to abuse,” said Carrie Zickefoose of the shelter. “These stylists form relationships and meet with clients on a regular basis. They start to talk.”
And that talk is what originally formed the Cut It Out: Salons Against Domestic Violence program, a national effort created in 2002 that the shelter has adopted for local use.
The shelter decided to launch Cut It Out locally about eight months ago, trying out its program at Express Yourself Salon and Day Spa.
“The salon basically said that they loved it and saw how they could benefit,” said Zickefoose. “That training was in April, but we are now officially launching this project community-wide.”
Area salons interested in being trained can be assured that their hectic appointment books and hefty schedules will not be affected.
“The training itself is a one-hour training, an hour-and-a-half at longest,” said Zickefoose. “We understand that salons have varying schedules, and so we make our availability flexible.”
Zickefoose sees this training as continual, something that can take place regularly as procedures change or salons acquire new staff members.
“Because it’s a new program in our community, we understand that it is going to be a process,” said Zickefoose. “Once this is up and running and salons are on board, this could be an ongoing process.”
Those personally looking to aid in the effort to put an end to domestic violence can be on the lookout for tell-tale signs of abuse, such as an individual being isolated from friends and family or beginning to disconnect from family. The shelter provides a crisis hotline at 294-1811 that can be called at any time to speak with a trained women’s advocate.
“If someone comes up against a situation, the best thing to do is to connect with us,” said Zickefoose.
And after Cut It Out has been fully implemented, Elkhart may be able to trim the number of women who have fallen victim to domestic abuse.
For more information on this program visit www.cutitout.org. For more information on the Elkhart County Women’s Shelter visit www.ifitelkhart.org/shelter.htm.