A Los Angeles-based nonprofit called Face Forward is making waves for its pro-bono work with domestic violence survivors who need reconstructive surgery.
In a new feature for Allure, surgeon David Alessi and his wife Deborah — who is a survivor herself — detail their mission, as well as the importance of reconstructive surgery for those affected by domestic violence.
"I didn't realize I was still carrying some baggage from that experience around. When I started Face Forward, it was very healing for me," Deborah told the publication. "I realized this was something kind of hidden — people don't talk about it because there's a lot of shame that goes with domestic violence."
According to the article, about 70 percent of Face Forward's patients are survivors of domestic violence, who obtain help from 12 board-certified plastic surgeons who volunteer their time to the cause. That said, the organization has also expanded their reach to survivors of acid attacks, those who have escaped human trafficking, and injured Syrian refugees.
Not only that, but Face Forward also helps get patients mental health help in order to help process their trauma. After all, as Deborah tells the publication, "no matter what we do, surgery-wise, you'll never heal" if there's no mental health component to a survivor's recovery.