On Saundra’s 28th birthday, she caught her husband cheating with another woman. He beat her into unconsciousness and left her on the sidewalk. He later told the police that she had been mugged. As a result of the blunt force trauma she had suffered, Saundra developed necrotizing fasciitis, a rare skin-eating bacterial infection which nearly took her life and cost her all the skin, muscle, and feeling on the right side of her face and part of her neck. She had to undergo 28 surgeries and such despair that she lost the will to live.
The story of Saundra is indicative of the horrors victims of domestic or gang violence face. An assault or repeated assaults can result in deep and haunting psychological trauma and major disfigurement, causing victims to live a life in the shadows or in isolation. The figures on domestic violence are both shocking and disheartening: one in three women throughout the world have been physically abused; in the United States, an act of domestic violence occurs every 15 seconds; the effects of these assaults often have devastating and long lasting consequences for all concerned, including children in the family; and there are a diminishing number of programs to provide relief and recovery for direct and indirect victims of such assaults.
Six years ago, after seeing her husband, world renowned surgeon David Alessi, work on a woman who had been so badly beaten she was unrecognizable, successful businesswoman Deborah Alessi decided to start an organization to address the needs for after-care for these victims: housing and moral support for coping with the trauma of such beatings. Face Forward, a group dedicated to facilitating a multi-faceted recovery for victims, was born.
Certainly there was a need for such a group. Indeed, Deborah Alessi knows that surgery might help heal the body of a victim, but healing the soul must also be a concomitant goal of the recovery process. Face Forward, through the work of the Alessis, provides facial reconstructive services for women and children who have been victims of domestic or gang violence and affords them ongoing assistance in their recovery process.
Amazingly, Saundra has made a remarkable recovery from her attack, but it has been a very long and hard road to that place and she would not have made it without the generosity and assistance of Face Forward.
The two principals behind Face Forward have combined their unique abilities and sensitivities in the name of service:
Dr. David Alessi is a specialist in facial plastic surgery and head and neck disorders and is also an internationally recognized expert in voice disorders and sinus disease. He is quite simply one of the best and most devoted doctors in the world today.
Deborah Alessi is an accomplished businesswoman who has worked in the upper levels of the aviation industry and now is a film producer, CEO of a high-end skin care line, and the driving force behind Face Forward.
Face Forward welcomes your assistance in its work. We at FVM Global urge you to support the desperately needed efforts of the Alessis. One can donate at www.facela.net or call 310- 657-2253.