Tri-Cities Voice Newspaper - What's Happening - Fremont, Union City, Newark California

April 19, 2005 > Stylists Cut Abuse to SAVE

Stylists Cut Abuse to SAVE

by Susana Nuñez

A trip to the beauty salon is known to be a confidence-booster and the perfect pick-me-up after a rough day. Once you step inside, you can put the day's troubles behind you and enjoy some much deserved pampering and relaxation. It is here in the unique salon atmosphere that stylists not only lift your spirits with their talents, but also become confidants. Beauty advice may gradually turn into fashion or even cooking advice, and soon an ongoing conversation is created between you and your stylist that continues however often you are in need of a new look or trim. Your hair, and soon your life story, is in their hands.

Not everyone's life, however, is the picture of perfection. While some face minor issues at work or school, others come home to situations far worse. Home, a place where they should feel safe and at ease, becomes the grounds of an abusive relationship of which friends and family may be completely unaware. Hearing about these terrible incidents and situations from friends/clients can cause stylists to feel helpless, as they are only able to sympathize with the individuals. At Visual Image Salon, however, stylists can now demonstrate their care and concern by helping their clients through such a delicate situation. With their new program "Cut Abuse," stylists provide clients in abusive relationships with information on the program's co-creators Shelters Against Violent Environments (SAVE).

Although the event kick-off was held on Feb. 25 at the Visual Image Salon in Fremont, stylists have yet to encounter a client in need. Boris Oak, managing director at Visual Image, said that the relationship between a client and their stylist happens "organically" and that the program is not meant for someone to simply visit the salon and ask for help. Cut Abuse is designed to keep the clients' problems a private matter, and stylists will only offer help, not call the organizations and report the situation themselves.

"It's such a hard spot to be put in because you never know how extreme a situation like this can be," said Oak, "We don't take the initiative ourselves. Our job is to educate our clients, but ultimately it's up to our clients to take that step."

SAVE and Leadership Fremont teamed up to create Cut Abuse, an adaptation of Cut It Out, Salons Against Domestic Abuse Fund. Many salons are expected to join the groups' efforts and provide their clientele with more than just beauty services.

"We're very happy that the program exists and that it gives us the opportunity to help them," said Oak.

With their collaboration with Leadership Fremont in full effect, SAVE also recently celebrated an evening of "Indulgence." Held on the April 7 at Heritage Bank of Commerce in Fremont, Indulgence showcased local artists Simone Archer, Brookes Dewey, and Denise Oyama. San Francisco confectioner Anthony Ferguson also shared his "total chocolate experience" creations with guests at the event. In addition, the anticipated Chocolate Mess, a four-tier chocolate fountain, was one of the evening's highlights. Next up for SAVE is the third annual Breakfast Eye Opener, which will be held on October 7. This organization will not be slowing down anytime soon, and events such as Indulgence and their new program Cut Abuse are examples of their dedication.

For more information on Cut Abuse call Lisa Vian (510) 745-6443 of Leadership Fremont or visit or call SAVE at (510) 574-2250 or visit For the 24-hour domestic violence hotline call (510) 794-6055.

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