Domestic abuse

A one-hour workshop will be held in October to train salon workers in ways to engage customers who may be suffering from domestic abuse.

Salon owners and hairstylists are invited to an educational seminar about domestic violence on October 7 hosted by the United Way.

Representatives from Compassion’s Foundation Inc. will speak at the seminar from 9-10 a.m. at the Magnolia Chamber of Commerce Building on 211 W. Main Street. A light breakfast will be provided.

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

The idea for the seminar came from Ashley Talley, owner of Serenity Day Spa and 24-hour Tanning Salon in Magnolia. Talley is also a member of the United Way and saw the need for stylists to know more about how to help a client they suspect is a victim of domestic violence. She said she has seen this need over her 15 years of being a stylist.

One of these needs was a woman who came into the salon for eyelash extensions and her eyes were so bloodshot the procedure could not be done.

The woman confided to a stylist at Serenity that she had almost been choked to death by her husband.

“We gave her Compassion’s number and gave her a pseudo name and we prayed with her,” Talley said. “That same day I went to the United Way meeting and

they moved my agency from Salvation Army to Compassion’s and I got tears in my eyes thinking what is the likelihood? I felt like it was God’s hand. I don’t know what God intends but I think it is a God thing.”

So, Talley told the United Way members about her idea to bring all stylists together to help educate them on how to help a client who was facing a situation at home they did not know how to escape. She called upon Crystal Sanders, executive director of Compassion’s Foundation, and Lacey Ogle, victim advocate of Compassion’s Foundation.

Both were encouraged by the idea and Sanders, who used to be a hairstylist for 14 years, said she understood from experience the way clients confide in their stylist about the most personal parts of life.

“When you are behind them in a chair, they left everything go and you notice things like a knot on their head,” she said. “You end up knowing a client’s life story within one visit.”

Sanders said she hopes the seminar will help stylists who are put in a situation when a client needs help.

“Fourteen years ago, I didn’t know what to tell somebody, but we need to put it out there for people to talk about so people can get help,” she said.

When she worked in the beauty industry, Sanders said she discovered bruises on clients who came in for waxes. She also discovered knots on their heads and would inquire if they were missing hair. Hair falling out from stress can be a tell-tale sign of domestic abuse, she said.

“It could look like alopecia when hair comes out from stress and I would ask them what is going on,” she said.

Ogle said abusers will often hit their partners where it might go unnoticed and may be covered with hair.

Abusers can be very cunning, Ogle said.

“For the most part, most people who would know the abuser wouldn’t think they were an abuser, especially with the wealthier people,” she said.

However, domestic violence has no boundaries when it comes to running the spectrum from those in poverty to those who are wealthy, Sanders said.

Ogle said those who attend the seminar will receive handouts including information specifically written for stylists in mind from the Cut It Out-professional beauty community against domestic violence. Speak it Out flyers can be placed in restrooms for people to get discreetly will also be available. These items are made where people can tear off the number of the crisis hotline and other information and are placed in businesses across town and at restrooms at Southern Arkansas University.

Ogle said people would be surprised to know how often these items must be replaced because they are so quickly taken.

All stylists and salon owners in Magnolia are invited to the seminar as well as those in surrounding areas like Stamps and Emerson, Talley said.

Talley said stylists are just in a unique position to perhaps be the first to know about abuse because people come to the salon to feel better about themselves.

“There is just something about sitting in that chair, something happens,” Talley said. “And it makes everybody feel better. I used to think about being a Christian counselor when I was in school, but I didn’t want to sit behind a desk. Now I feel like I have found a unique way to do that but now I stand up.”

The buzz words for helping someone to respond to domestic violence are “recognize, respond and refer,” Ogle said.

For more information about the seminar, call the Compassion Foundation’s administration building at 870-235-1415. For those in trouble, the crisis hotline is (870) 235-1414.

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