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March 1, 2005 > Cut Abuse - Stylists Set To Fight Domestic Violence

Cut Abuse - Stylists Set To Fight Domestic Violence

by Ceri Hitchcock-Hodgson

A salon stylist is often asked to be more than a hair designer. He or she may also serve as a trusted confidant or psychologist. "This is a place where many women let their hair down, talk and let it all hang out," said State Senator Liz Figueroa at the kick-off of Leadership Fremont's partnership with Shelters Against Violent Environments (SAVE) in a program called "Cut Abuse." This plan was created to take advantage of an often-unique relationship between stylist and client.

Cut Abuse is an adaptation of Cut It Out, Salons Against Domestic Abuse Fund, founded in Alabama and funded by the Women's Fund of Greater Birmingham, which has now become a nationwide program sponsored by the Salons Against Domestic Abuse Fund, a partnership between Clairol Professional, the National Cosmetology Association, and Southern Living At HOME.

The kick-off event was held at Visual Image Salon on Feb. 25. Leadership Fremont and SAVE hope it is the first of many salons who will join their efforts. Participating salons will be trained to recognize the warning signs of domestic abuse and provide information and direction to those women who are in need of help. Boris Oak, managing director of Visual Image remarked that salon professionals at Visual Image are ready to help.

Police Chief Craig Steckler addressed those attending the event noting that his department answers 450-500 domestic violence calls each year. Although the police are trying to respond to the soaring need for intervention, programs such as Cut Abuse can help break a cycle of domestic violence that moves across cultural lines and through generations of adults and their children. Every eight to 10 seconds, a woman is abused somewhere in the United States. Between 1996 and 2002, there were 126 deaths attributed to domestic violence in Alameda County alone. Men are not immune to domestic violence. Every 16 minutes, a man is battered.

Maria Sevin, a member of 2005 Leadership Fremont, explained that their initial goal is to assist SAVE and other organizations dedicated to eradicating domestic violence, by providing informational pamphlets in many languages and contacting at least 100 local salons about the program. Audrey Huang of SAVE said that they are excited by the potential of the Cut Abuse program and will provide free domestic violence training to any interested salon.

Senator Figueroa expressed the promise of the Cut Abuse program when she said that when a stylist takes time to talk about domestic abuse with a client, his or her actions "may save a life."

Emcee Billy Sandbrink and Fremont Chamber of Commerce CEO, Cindy Bonior closed the event by expressing gratitude for community interest and thanking project sponsors.

For more information on Cut Abuse, you can call Lisa Vian (510) 745-6443,
Leadership Fremont (Fremont Chamber of Commerce) (510) 795-2244 or visit

For more information on the SAVE program you can contact them at (510) 574-2250 or visit For the 24-hour domestic violence hotline, call (510) 794-6055.

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