IN THIS ISSUE
Domestic Violence Survivors Receive Assistance
In 1994, the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) founded FACE TO FACE: The National Domestic Violence Project in partnership with the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV). October is officially the national domestic violence month and we recognize these victims and reach out to them by making you aware of this humanitarian program through the AAFPRS.
Facial plastic surgeons donate their time to help victims of domestic abuse who cannot afford to receive treatment for facial injuries. The program offers individuals the opportunity to overcome the physical limitations placed on them by circumstances beyond their control and to regain self-esteem as they rebuild their lives.
Mary was a client of her local domestic violence shelter. She had suffered multiple batterings of her face over 17 years with her ex-spouse. The trauma caused external deformity to her nose and difficulty breathing. The tendons of her eyelids were weakened causing sagging and a pulling away from the eyeball. After taking the steps to leave the abusive situation and seeking counseling through the shelter, Mary was ready to move forward. The shelter referred her to the FACE TO FACE program.
Mary was matched with a volunteer facial plastic surgeon. After a consultation and evaluation with the surgeon, Mary received extensive reconstructive rhinoplasty (nose surgery) and blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery) with all fees waived. The surgery provided Mary with renewed confidence and hope for a positive future. The facial plastic surgeon also benefited with a great sense of satisfaction to help restore Mary’s physical appearance and contribute to her brighter future.
For victims of domestic violence who are burdened with physical scars or injuries located on the head, face, and neck, the AAFPRS and NCADV offer a 24-hour toll-free number, 1-(800) 842-4546. During the initial call, survivors are screened to determine if their injuries are a result of domestic violence, if they are out of the abusive relationship, and to obtain a brief description of the injuries sustained.
The survivor is given the name of a domestic violence shelter in their local area and advised to set up an appointment with a domestic violence counselor at the program. The shelter counselor then contacts the AAFPRS domestic violence coordinator to confirm that the individual has begun the inner healing process and is out of the abusive relationship. The next step is a referral to a local surgeon who will provide complimentary consultation and surgery.
Over five million women a year are affected by domestic violence in the United States; over one million victims require medical attention. The FACE TO FACE program is taking steps to help these women. It is an empowering program seeking to help survivors change their lives. For more information visit www.facetofacesurgery.org.