The following is a true story told by MISSIO Founder, Lorin Van Zandt.
I'll never forget the day I received the phone call. There was a woman who needed a haircut. But the reason was one I would have never expected. She needed help with her hair because there had been large chunks of it ripped out by an abuser- her pimp.
We quickly organized to have a friend's salon space open to only her on a Sunday afternoon. She came in with her head hung, timid and obviously struggling to believe in herself due to the way she looked. She told me "I don't even want to walk outside right now."
With a nod I welcomed her and led her over to the styling chair where she would receive a simple haircut. I worked to carefully blend her hair to hide the bare spots. As time passed, I opportunity to get to know her and to hear her story. She shared about her life of abuse, a situation where she was tricked and coerced through a false relationship into a life of years of forced sex. She shared about her multiple attempts at escape and then enrollment in the rehab program. We talked about her goals for regaining custody of her children and the new life that she desired for her future. As I blended her hair, I was able to let her know that I believed that she could achieve these goals.
When we finished, she looked at herself in the mirror and her entire countenance changed. Her face lit up and her eyes welled up with tears. She went from not being willing to be seen in public to LOVING the way that she looked and holding her head up high. She laughed and touched her hair, hugged me and cried. She could not stop saying "thank you." It was a very emotional moment to realize that this was the beginning of her believing something new about herself.
It was in moments like this that MISSIO was born, as we discovered how something as simple as a haircut at a critical time could be used in powerful ways to help women believe in their worth once again.
Today, MISSIO seeks out opportunities to link stylists with situations just like this. In every city where we are found. Thank you for your support of all that is happening and how we are growing. Imagine what we can do together.