Hair stylists learn to spot domestic violence

Hair stylists learn to spot domestic violence
By: Crystal Britt
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. - Every 15 seconds a woman is abused. It's a startling statistic that's prompting some hair dressers to help cut out domestic violence. Future stylists in the Heartland are learning how to spot warning signs and point their clients toward help.
Think about it, getting your hair done is a pretty intimate experience. Some clients spend hours in a beauty shop chair, leaving several opportunities to share stories about their lives. 
Linda Garner's the executive director of the Safe House for women in Cape Girardeau. Garner says women need a little encouragement sometimes when it comes to getting help. That's where stylists come in.
"We think it's an important way to reach women that are or may be not aware of our services," said Garner. 
A program called "Cut It Out" is making it's way into beauty schools nationwide. A group of students from Trend Setters School of Cosmetology in Cape Girardeau is some of the first in the Heartland to take part.
"I feel more prepared now to hear what they have to say, even if they're not actually saying it but more of their body language," said Elishah Urbaez. 
Some students can relate first hand.  "I've seen it, I can say, hey I know what you're going through," said Casey Schoonover. 
"They're (clients) usually very open with us, telling us about their life story and everything so they get really close to that stylist," said Trend Setters Director Wanda Verhines. 
That's what happened to Ria Friedrich, owner of N'Style with Ria in Jackson.  
"Whatever you say here, stays here," said Friedrich. 
That's possibly why one client opened up, sharing her story of abuse.  
"She was already in the situation and wanted to confide in me to talk about it and let me know what was going on," said Friedrich.  "She needed some consoling, some comfort." 
That client got help. Now Ria knows what to look for next time. Organizers hope the same for the students at Trend Setters, that they'll be able to do more than just fix hair. They could even save lives.