This letter features reporting from “Teaching Tennessee Hair Stylists and Barbers to Spot the Signs of Domestic Violence” by Natasha Senjanovic, a Pulitzer Center reporting project
Dear Governor Ron DeSantis,
My name is Jashaunna Saddler. I am a 16-year-old attending Miami Norland Senior High School. I am coming to you today with a national issue that I believe can be prevented starting with the state of Florida. Mr. DeSantis, do you know that in 2019, 105,298 abuse crimes were reported in the state of Florida, according to the Florida Department of Children and Families? In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, domestic violence shelters provided 669,785 nights of emergency shelter for domestic violence survivors and their children according to the Rickman Law Firm. In 2016, Miami-Dade County reported 9,357 domestic violence cases. Do you know that there are nearly 20 people per minute who are physically abused by their intimate partners ? And that every seven seconds, a woman is abused by her partner? Last year in the state of Florida there were more than 120,000 reported cases of domestic violence. Furthermore, Florida spends at least $8.3 million every year on domestic violence cases. This is an issue in Florida that increases every year resulting in increased costs, shelter needs, and deaths.
The article “Teaching Tennessee Hair Stylists and Barbers to Spot the Signs of Domestic Violence” shows that Tennessee is cracking down on the global issue of domestic abuse. Tennessee has passed a law where barbers and hair stylists are required to notice signs of domestic abuse in their clients and encourage them to get help from shelters, hotlines, and other sources. I believe this law is very beneficial due to the trust that clients place in their hair stylists or barbers. These are people who clients know care about them and only want the best for them. If clients who are being abused hear from their hair stylists and barbers, it will greatly encourage them to get help. One hair stylist interviewed in the article states, “I learned that we are one of the people that abusers will let the victim come to.” Hair stylists and barbers are people that continuously see the signs of abuse, because who doesn’t need their hair trimmed or styled? Hair stylists and barbers are also very trusted people to keep the secrets of their clients. As an upcoming stylist, I know that when clients are comfortable with their hair stylist or barber they tend to vent about things going on in their lives.
This domestic abuse issue can be safely and thoughtfully addressed or prevented in Florida by adopting a similar law. In 2017, Tennessee made a requirement for beauty professionals to take domestic violence training. A few years ago a woman by the name of Briggs Cathcart attended a training specifically designed for physical, emotional, and financial dynamics of intimate partner abuse for beauty professionals . When taking this training she realized that one of her clients may have been enduring abuse and this inspired her to make a change. Cathcart began hosting the same training in her salon. Another woman by the name of Susanne Post also made a change due to her personal connection, being a domestic abuse survivor. She asked the YWCA to create a training for a program she launched in 2017 and began supplying domestic violence brochures to salons. These women were inspired to create change and took action.
Governor Ron DeSantis, I ask you to adopt a law similar to Tennessee’s. I know that you have the power to put this law into effect to prevent violence. This is an issue that affects the communities and cities of Florida. It affects our population, children, and families. This affects me personally due to me losing a family member by domestic violence. I know lots of friends who endure domestic violence at home. By adopting this law, the State of Florida will decrease domestic abuse cases resulting in death. Governor Desantis, you have the power to advocate for change like the women who have started trainings, organizations, and programs. You can advocate to educate our youth on domestic violence. Domestic violence is an issue a lot of people feel has no solution but prison. Prison is not the only solution, Governor Desantis. Domestic violence is preventable in many ways such as requiring hair stylists and barbers to notice when their clients are being abused and providing them with trainings on domestic violence. You could also include more child-friendly trainings at our school, or require these trainings at all jobs . You can even make fulfillment of this training a requirement when doing inspections. Florida has suffered from so many losses to domestic violence, and it is time that you make this change because you have the power. As our Florida governor, you are our voice. So please Governor Desantis, I beg you and ask kindly for you and your team to get some law into effect that will help Floridian domestic violence cases decrease.
I am Jashaunna Saddler, a 16-year-old who attends Miami Norland Senior Highschool in the 11th grade. I was born and raised in Miami, Florida. I enjoy doing hair under the brand name BratzLuxuryTouch, reading, and writing. I would like to thank my teacher Ms. O'Connor for pushing me and knowing that I can write the letter I wrote and always pushing me in everything I do. I would also like to thank the Cambridge staff at Miami Norland for teaching me the tools that I needed and utilized in my letter. In the future I plan to study psychiatry as far as my education.