How cosmetology and domestic abuse services are coming together

BY Leah Mishkin, Correspondent |

At Raritan Valley Community College, training in cosmetology goes beyond doing hair and make-up — it also teaches how to spot warning signs of domestic abuse.

The college’s “Cut It Out” program was incorporated into the school in 2010. In that time, over 250 students have had the training, going on to over 100 salons. Through the program they’re certified on how to recognize, respond and refer to clients.

“They need to know how to advise their clients correctly,” prevention specialist Myrna Milan said. “When someone wants to leave a domestic abuse relationship it has to be planned out.”

Cosmetology student Cori Fonzetti went through the training and shared her experience.

“I think it’ll give me the confidence to know what to do if I get in that situation and not freeze up, and not say the wrong thing, or insult them, or upset them, and scare them to not actually get help,” said Fonzetti. “You talk to your stylist about all kinds of stuff. It’s someone you see on a regular basis.”

Helen Holton, a soon-to-be graduate of the program and a domestic abuse victim, enrolled in this program to give herself a fresh start. She says if somebody had given her a brochure or a phone number to call for help, it would have made a major difference in her life.

It’s a difference she hopes to make in someone else’s life.