Hair Salons Offer Lifelines for Survivors of Domestic Violence
written by Holly Jasinski, Resilient Spaces Program Facilitator & Public Policy Liaison
Professional Hair Stylists often develop close and trusting relationships with their clients, even if only for a few hours at a time, over the course of years or even decades.
“I have a bond with my clients, they trust me and are comfortable being completely vulnerable in my chair. They’re with you,
you’re physically touching them, so you’re very much in their space.”
– Caroline Kampfshulte, Stylist at Jeffrey Richard Salon in Grand Rapids
It’s not uncommon for clients to tell their trusted salon professional about almost everything: weddings, job interviews, graduations, breakups, even details about abusive relationships. This can put salon professionals in a tricky position. While they may be concerned about their clients’ safety and wellbeing, they aren’t always sure what to do our say and don’t want to overstep their role or act as a therapist. That’s why education is essential. Resilience is proud to offer training that provides salon owners and employees tips for recognizing domestic violence among their clientele and discreetly getting important safety information into the hands of domestic violence victims.
This idea isn’t new – in fact, fourteen states have already introduced or passed legislation that requires salon professionals to receive training about domestic violence. While a bill has not yet been introduced in Michigan, local salon professionals have long been hungry for this information. Resilience has developed customizable curriculum for salons based off of a national model called, Cut It Out®: The Beauty Community Against Domestic Violence.
A lot of abuse is invisible. While the stylist may notice bruises and injuries in the head and neck area, more often it’s what their clients say that indicates that they are disempowered or trapped, e.g., “I’m not allowed to cut it too short.” Or, the partner is physically present and hovers or “supervises” the entire haircut/color process to maintain control.
It’s not always possible to bring it up, however, if there’s a Resilience poster or brochure in the bathroom or changing room, a person can privately get the information needed to find help.
To learn more about the Resilient Spaces educational program for salon professionals, please visit https://resiliencemi.org/resilient-spaces
For your health and safety, all Resilience training is currently being provided virtually. Let’s work together to address your training needs.