It could be you. You could be the caring, understanding individual to listen without judgement and recommend resources to someone living with domestic violence.
As massage therapists, estheticians, and makeup artists, we come into contact physically and emotionally with clients in ways that their friends and family members do not. The salon and spa world is often viewed as a safe space: a space for clients to relax, unwind, and feel good about themselves. Relationships are built between client and practitioner that often lead to frank conversations about the clients’ personal lives. In this business, it is imperative that we are prepared to react in helpful, professional ways when we see signs of physical and emotional abuse.
The Cut It Out program, founded in 2003 to mobilize the salon and spa industries in the fight against domestic violence, along with Middlesex County District attorney Marian T. Ryan, brought invaluable information and resources to our school during a workshop on January 23, 2015. In an eye-opening discussion about domestic violence, DA Ryan and her colleagues discussed the insidious nature of abuse and how we can recognize the signs and know how to respond to our clients.
DA Ryan advised EG students to “serve as a bridge” for future clients, saying “I am not asking you to confront the abuser or to make judgments about a client’s relationship, only to help facilitate getting the client the help she or he may need by offering a referral.”
DA Ryan, who has prosecuted hundreds of domestic violence cases, pointed out some of the common signs that abuse is taking place. “Some day,” she explained,” you will have a client and you will notice that the client may have pain when she puts her head back for you to wash her hair, or you may notice that her spouse seems controlling and always comes into the salon, or you may notice bruise marks on your client’s skin. These could all be possible signs that the client is suffering from abuse.”
Common Signs Of Abuse To Note
- Unusual excuses for injuries
- Checking in with spouses or partners before making changes to physical appearance
- A spouse or partner who calls constantly during the service
- Uncommon payment methods
- Repeat missed appointments and elaborate excuses
DA Ryan provided the following tips for working with clients who may be living in an abusive relationship.
- Be supportive and non-judgmental
- Respect boundaries
- NEVER confront an abuser
- Offer resources for safety and services, not directives
- Display pamphlets, brochures, and other resources at the salon
- Build relationships with local service providers and law enforcement
We are so grateful to the Cut It Out Program and DA Ryan, along with State Representatives Paul Donato and Christine Barber for attending in solidarity. We look forward to a continued partnership.
If you, a loved one, or a client is experiencing domestic violence, these local resources are here to help.
SafeLink: A 24 hour Domestic Violence Hotline
Respond: 24 Hour Hotline
Portal To Hope