Dr. William’s Commitment to Face to Face
Giving Back To Those Who Deserve It Most
Since 1994, Dr. Edwin Williams, a board certified facial plastic surgeon, has offered complimentary consultations and cosmetic surgery and reconstructive surgery to victims of domestic violence. As a participating surgeon in the program Face to Face, Dr. Williams helped to write the guidelines for Facial Plastic Surgeons around the world to care for these victims. These same guidelines are still being used today. You see, Dr. Williams did not only want to help these victims look better on the outside but he wanted to ensure that each patient that went thru the Face to Face program received counseling to help heal from the inside. This program was developed in conjunction with the National Coalition against Domestic Violence, Dr. Edwin Williams along with other facial plastic and reconstructive surgeons throughout the country take a firm stand against domestic violence.
Dr. Edwin Williams hopes that his efforts will bring attention to the issue of domestic violence.
Domestic Violence: We’re on the Front Lines!
1 in every 4 women are subjected to physical violence by an intimate partner in her lifetime—most before the age of 25, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Because despite the number of initiatives and facilities opened to serve this population, funds earmarked for the mental health services needed to treat domestic violence offenders are being cut even faster.
It’s true that some women elect to stay in abusive situations because there is also the emotional abuse that’s involved in the relationship. They fear retribution, homelessness and poverty.
The popular plastic surgeon undertook research into the topic and was shocked to learn that a woman is assaulted or beaten in the U.S. every nine seconds. International domestic abuse statistics, it appeared, were no better: one in three women are beaten, abused or forced to have non-consensual sex in her lifetime across the globe, and while he couldn’t take on this universal epidemic, he could make a difference at home.
But for those who seek help and leave their abusers, their recovery can be physically difficult because of the scars that remain. What’s to be done? More than you think—solutions begin within the community, and Albany has no shortage of individuals ready to help these victims recover and prosper.
Over the past several years Dr. Edwin Williams has helped many women remove the remaining scars caused by an abusive partner. Those wishing to be considered for the complimentary consultations and cosmetic and reconstructive surgery to victims of domestic violence, must meet certain criteria including proof of being out of the abusive relationship for at least one year.
Identifying ways to help!
Having become concerned about the overwhelming evidence and startling statistics that surround what he came to refer to as “the biggest domestic secret of all,” Dr. Williams knew that collecting facts and figures wouldn’t help a single woman in the community, particularly after doing more research and finding that over one million victims of domestic abuse require medical treatment as a direct result of extreme violence.
Dr. Williams is a compassionate, caring doctor who felt a moral and ethical obligation to take a stand whenever he was personally impacted by situations in which victims were powerless to help themselves. With his staff’s enthusiastic support and that of the Face to Face Program, Dr. Williams instituted a program of complimentary consultations within his office and pro bono care for victims of domestic violence who are unable to pay for their surgeries and treatments.
The program that heals!
Given his busy practice, Dr. Williams turned to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (http://www.ncadv.org/) when it came to gathering facts and statistics. He was instrumental in establishing the guidelines for “Face to Face: The National Domestic Violence Project” which is sponsored by the National Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive surgeons.
Patients are given the contact information to the Face to Face Program. They are sent forms to be filled out informing them of the criteria they need to qualify for the program. There are basically 2 requirements that would make them eligible. One being they would have to have been out of the relationship for at least one year. The second being that they received professional counseling.
By adapting this philosophy and guidelines to his practice, Dr. Williams and his staff of caring practitioners committed themselves to the aid of patients who longed to look and feel whole again after suffering injuries from domestic partners.
“Women who sustain facial injuries as a result of abuse are particularly in need of our services,” Dr. Williams says, “because of all of the types of physical damage a woman may sustain, it’s the story of her abuse that’s written on her face that can remain with her throughout her life and impact every aspect of how she faces the future.”
Of course, Dr. Williams understands that attending to physical wounds are just the beginning of the healing process; it’s impossible to overlook the psychological damage done to patients who may already suffer from a lack of self-esteem and confidence issues before they were beaten and injured. These women, he believes, are particularly vulnerable as they try to rebuild their lives and learn to trust again. Accordingly, he and his staff compiled a network of community resources so patients can seek psychological assistance, temporary shelter and other critical services.
It’s become a matter of personal ethics. No busy plastic surgeon asks for an increased work load, but in Dr. Williams’ case, his interest in aiding the domestic violence population of Albany became a crusade over two decades. As a Face to Face participating surgeon, every time he comes to the aid of a patient he makes a statement that abused women of Albany don’t have to live with their scars because he cares enough to treat them without regard for financial status.
How does Dr. Williams handle it all?
He is quick to note that were it not for his amazing staff, there’s no way he could participate in the Face to Face program! When people ask how he managed to find such loving, compassionate people to staff his office, he is quick to say that he’s been given the gift of good judgment! Who could refute that claim when considering this man’s dedication to some of his city’s most vulnerable citizens?
Over the past few years Dr. Williams has headed fundraisers for this cause raising in excess of 100,000.00. These funds were distributed to both the Face to Face program nationally and locally to domestic violence organizations in the Albany and Saratoga counties.
Until the day domestic violence has been eliminated—and he hopes it will be in is lifetime—this vanguard of medicine is committed to action. He is proud of his role as both healer and advocate, seeing his primary role as someone trained to help women feel better about themselves despite the horrific reasons they came to see him in the first place.
But, come to see him they do–so they can reclaim their lives, despite the physical damage that’s been done. If you would like to learn more about Dr. Williams’ approach to treating victims of domestic abuse, we invite you to visit the practice. If you know of someone injured as a direct result of remaining in an abusive situation, you’re urged to contact the Face To Face toll free number: 1-800-842-4546.