Last year, the state of Illinois passed a regulation that requires cosmetologists and hairstylists to undergo training on domestic violence and sexual assault in order to obtain their license.
Chicago Says No More, a domestic abuse and sexual assault outreach organization, worked along with lawmakers to craft the legislation.
Now on March 26, around 150 of Illinois’ nearly 90,000 cosmetologists attended their first class on domestic violence, conducted at a downtown Chicago convention center. During the training, attendees were informed about the general traits of an abuser, the kinds of abuse that generally take place and what to do when they come across a case of domestic violence. They were also told of the warning signs they could watch out for, and the organizations they could refer victims to for support and help.
“Yes, one client came with her hair patched out and she tried to say something else and I didn’t say anything. I just said, 'Well, we gonna see what we gonna do.' Then she broke down and started crying and told me she had a lotta problems,” recalled a cosmetologist.
Many women sat with tears in their eyes as speakers shared stories of abuse in the U.S. and made the hairstylists aware of the role they can play in their clients’ lives.
“Hair salon professionals are a nurturing group anyways, and so having them be part of this is just a natural thing. Plus, because of their relationship is long term and ongoing, they probably know things about their clients that they normally wouldn’t know about some other stranger that they meet, so it’s been a really good match,” said Kristie Paskvan, founder of Chicago Says No More.
Hopefully, the new training program will help make people more aware about domestic violence and its signs and give victims an outlet to talk about their problems and seek help.
Check out the video above to learn more about the training.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, John Gress