October, while primarily being known as breast cancer awareness month, is also host to another important cause – domestic violence awareness month. In honor of the national awareness month – which was started in October of 1981 by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) – the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) has partnered with Face to Face: The Domestic Violence Project to create an infographic sharing staggering statistics oft forgot surrounding domestic violence.
Face to Face: The Domestic Violence Project offers pro bono facial plastic and reconstructive surgery to domestic violence survivors to repair injuries on the face, head, and neck caused by an intimate partner or spouse. One million of the five million women affected each year by domestic violence in the U.S. require medical attention, and it has been proven that in some cases the physical damage can remain long after the relationship has ended.
“Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women in the U.S.,” says Fred Fedok, M.D. and president of AAFPRS. “Face to Face empowers individuals to overcome the physical limitations placed on them by circumstances beyond their control and continues to set precedent in the medical community as the first surgical group to take a stand with its landmark humanitarian initiative.”
The Face to Face Domestic Violence Project program aims to do more than just physically change women who have been effected by domestic violence. It hopes change lives of women and encourage them to empower their own lives and free themselves from harmful situations, and go on to live happy, successful lives. Since the program’s inception in 1994, the participating physicians have helped more than 1,000 women in need.
“Our Face to Face surgeons volunteer their time and effort to help victims of domestic violence who have suffered facial trauma,” says Manoj T. Abraham, M.D. and chair of Face to Face. “It is our hope that by helping improve the visible evidence of the suffering these domestic violence survivors have endured, we can help them heal and return to their families and communities.”
Prior to agreeing to perform any plastic surgeries, the AAFPRS works directly with shelters across the U.S. to ensure individuals in need are counseled emotionally and is safely away from the violent relationship. Once the individual has begun the inner healing process through the help of their shelter, they are then referred to a surgeon to proceed with a reconstructive surgery through the Face to Face domestic violence initiative.
For more statistics on domestic violence, as well as treatments offered by AAFPRS and Face to Face, see the infographic below. If you or someone you know are interested in consulting with a Face to Face: National Domestic Violence Project surgeon, please call the hotline at 1-800-842-4546.