Survivors of domestic abuse feted at Gates salon, just in time for Mother’s Day

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GATES, N.Y. – Mother’s Day came early for several Rochester-area women.

The annual Sisters Giving Smiles event treated them to a morning of pampering at a Gates salon.

The 15 women have all survived abuse by their partners. For these women, Monday was a day meant just for them.

“We’re giving all the moms [who are] here today services making them feel good cause we feel like when you look good, you feel good,” said Carly Chung-Stowe, owner of Textures Beauty Bar in Gates.

Just about every chair at the salon was full Monday. Each of the customers, including Alina Kendall, is still coping with the trauma she experienced in a past relationship.

“My son’s father kicked in doors, me and my daughter, and it was really scary,” Alina Kendall, a survivor, said.

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports nearly 20 people per minute, or 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men, experience physical violence at the hands of an intimate partner. Rochester Police responded to over 5,600 domestic violence calls last year.

Rochester business owner Evangela “Van” Stanley started Sisters Giving Smiles in honor of her older sister, who was a domestic abuse survivor.

“She was put through a plate glass window at a hotel decades ago, and the doctors and the surgeons donated their services to reconstruct her face to try to get her back to looking somewhat like she looked before he attacked her,” she said.

Chung-Stowe says the event is all about giving back to the community.

“You never know what they’re going through, so when they come in here, depending on what situation they’re in, they’re always super, super thankful to be able to get these services, and that’s one of the reasons why I want to continue to do it,” she said.

Shameka Rotan was one of the five hairstylists helping at the event.

“Washing them, pampering them. Making their hair feel beautiful, and luxurious,” she explained.

Kendall was grateful.

“I really do appreciate this as a mom going to see my children, and them seeing me all dressed up and stuff like that,” she said.