Local News

Help for Battered Women

Posted March 5, 1997

— More than five million women a year are victims of domestic violence. 75% of those women are beaten. Leaving an abusive relationship is never easy. And the scars, both emotional and physical, remain. Health Team Medical Expert Dr. Allen Mask shows us how surgeons are stepping in to help women recover.

46-year-old Jane Stanley's face reflects 16 years of abuse at the hands of her boyfriend.

"I had a crushed nose. My eyelids were bleeding so bad I didn't have any eyelids left. My eyelids had came down over my eyes because of constant bruising."

The blows forced Jane's eyelids to droop. Dr. Cindy Gregg says plastic surgery was the lift Jane needed.

"We did some surgery in September to remove the excess tissue around her eyes and we revised the scar on the bridge of her nose and did some resurfacing around her mouth to get rid of scars around her lips."

Dr. Gregg, a facial plastic surgeon at Duke, did Jane's surgery for free. It's part of the "Face to Face" program for victims of domestic violence. "I have been able to see first hand what impact that facial plastic surgery can have on self-esteem and self-confidence of these individuals. I really see this project as a final step in their recovery."

To be eligible, Dr. Gregg says domestic violence victims must have facial or neck injuries and be out of the abusive relationship. "And then they go through emotional and psychological counseling. Once they are through the counseling, they are referred to a doctor in their local area."

Jane found Dr. Gregg through her local abuse shelter. She was so pleased with her first operation, she's back for more plastic surgery.This time she's getting a nose job.

Jane's excited about her new look. She says it's a reflection of her future. "I can look in the mirror and see his hands off my face now."

Jane has agreed to let the Health Team be there when she has her nose job. So we'll be bringing you that story in the coming weeks.

The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery has joined forces with the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence to help women remove the painful memories of abuse.

Victims of domestic violence who are interested in the "Face to Face" program can call1-800-842-4546. The line is open 24 hours a day.

More than 700 surgeons in the United States participate in the program. So abuse victims should be able to find a doctor in their area.


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