Shear Haven

Shear Haven is an initiative of YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee, co-founded by Nashville-based salon owner and stylist Susanne Shepherd Post.  A survivor of domestic violence, Susanne is committed to educating the community on the signs of abuse and the resources available to help victims. This domestic violence awareness education program equips stylists with the knowledge and tools to recognize the signs of domestic violence, successfully navigate conversations with clients who may be in danger, and pass along tools that can help them get to safety.

YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee, Susanne, and members of the YWCA’s Advocacy Committee spent several years meeting with Tennessee lawmakers and educating them about the crisis of domestic violence in our communities and the need for this training throughout the beauty industry.  In early 2021, the Tennessee Senate unanimously passed legislation requiring DV Awareness training, and the Tennessee House soon followed with near unanimous approval. The bill was signed into law by Gov. Bill Lee on April 13, 2021.

YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee is proud to partner with BARBICIDE®, one of the most iconic brands in the beauty industry. In October 2020, the company began hosting our online Shear Haven training on its website. More than 90,000 people worldwide have taken the training.  Can’t find your certificate?  You can look it up on the Merit Look-Up website here.


If you’ve recently earned your Shear Haven Certification, you will receive an email from Merit notifying you that your digital certificates (known as “merits”) are available. Click the ‘Accept’ button in the email to create your profile and accept your merit. If you still haven’t received the email, please contact and their customer service team will be glad to assist you! Already taken the training and can’t find your certificate?  You can look it up on the Merit Look-Up website here.

Click the following links to download a Shear Haven flier (PDF) with tear-off crisis numbers you can post in your salon restrooms.

U.S. DV Hotline Number ENGLISH & SPANISH 

YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee Crisis & Support Helpline 

U.K/Ireland Crisis Numbers 

Australia Crisis Number 

United Nations Crisis  Info Tear-Off 






YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee, Shear Haven co-founder Susanne Post, and members of the YWCA’s Advocacy Committee spent several years meeting with Tennessee lawmakers  and advocating for this legislation and  the need for this training throughout the beauty industry.

We are grateful to our sponsors and co-sponsors of the legislation – Rep. Sam Whitson, Rep. G.A. Hardaway, Sen. Becky Duncan Massey – and all who supported this effort.

On April 13, 2021, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed legislation requiring all licensed cosmetologists, barbers, aestheticians, manicurists, natural hair stylists, technicians, and instructors be trained on the signs of domestic violence and how to respond. Read the new Public Chapter 117 here and view the legislative history here. 

Click here to view a July 29, 2021 report on the new Shear Haven law from WKRN-News 2 in Nashville.

Read this Op/Ed from Rep. Sam Whitson of Franklin and Rep. G.A. Hardaway of Memphis on why they are sponsoring the Shear Haven legislation.

In Nashville & Middle Tennessee – YWCA Crisis & Support Helpline 800-334-4628 or Textline 615-983-5170

In the U.S. – The Hotline – 800-799.SAFE (7233) or visit The Hotline website HERE.

For crisis numbers and resources from AROUND THE WORLD, visit the UN Women website HERE. 

In the U.K. call 0808 2000 247 or visit the National Domestic Abuse Helpline website HERE. 

In Ireland call 1 800 341 900 or visit the Women’s Aid website HERE.

In Canada visit the Shelter Safe website HERE.

In Australia call 1800737732 or visit the 1800 RESPECT website HERE.

Click the following links to download a Shear Haven flier with tear-off crisis numbers you can post in your salons.

U.S. DV Hotline Number (PDF)   / U.S. DV Hotline Number SPANISH (PDF)

YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee Crisis & Support Helpline (PDF)

U.K/Ireland Crisis Numbers (PDF)

Australia Crisis Number (PDF)

United Nations Crisis  Info Tear-Off (PDF) 


Abuse may begin with behaviors that are easily dismissed or downplayed, such as name-calling, threats, possessiveness, or distrust. Over time, the abuse can escalate as a means of keeping control. Some examples of abusive tendencies include, but are not limited to:

  • Telling the victim that they can never do anything right
  • Showing jealousy of the victim’s family and friends and time spent away
  • Accusing the victim of cheating
  • Keeping or discouraging the victim from seeing friends or family members
  • Embarrassing or shaming the victim with put-downs
  • Controlling every penny spent in the household
  • Taking the victim’s money or refusing to give them money for expenses
  • Looking at or acting in ways that scare the person they are abusing
  • Controlling who the victim sees, where they go, or what they do
  • Dictating how the victim dresses, wears their hair, etc.
  • Stalking the victim or monitoring their victim’s every move (in person or also via the internet and/or other devices such as GPS tracking or the victim’s phone)
  • Preventing the victim from making their own decisions
  • Telling the victim that they are a bad parent or threatening to hurt, kill, or take away their children
  • Threatening to hurt or kill the victim’s friends, loved ones, or pets
  • Intimidating the victim with guns, knives, or other weapons
  • Pressuring the victim to have sex when they don’t want to or to do things sexually they are not comfortable with
  • Forcing sex with others
  • Refusing to use protection when having sex or sabotaging birth control
  • Pressuring or forcing the victim to use drugs or alcohol
  • Preventing the victim from working or attending school, harassing the victim at either, keeping their victim up all night so they perform badly at their job or in school
  • Destroying the victim’s property

What should you say and do?

  • Offer to call YWCA 24-hour Crisis & Support Helpline (1-800-334-4628) or TEXT us at 615-983-5170 together in a safe and confidential place.
  • Believe your friend. Listen carefully and with empathy. Remain non-judgmental and supportive.
  • Understand that your friend may not want to talk about the situation but reassure them that when they are ready, you are available.
  • Respect the need for confidentiality.
  • Offer supportive statements. Acknowledge your friend’s courage in talking about the situation.
  • Let your friend know that they are is not alone. Domestic assault happens to many, many people.
  • Reassure your friend that the abuse is not their fault. Your friend is not to blame.
  • Make use of reflective listening to encourage your friend to talk and to make sure you hear what is being said.
  • Ask direct questions gently. Give your friend ample opportunity to talk. Don’t rush into providing solutions.
  • Avoid WHY questions and victim-blaming statements.
  • Discuss options and help your friend evaluate their plans. (Call YWCA 24-hour Crisis and Support Helpline or provide the number for assistance in creating a safety plan.)
  • Provide your friend with information about local resources, including YWCA 24-hour Crisis and Support Helpline, which can make referrals for community-based support groups, confidential shelter and legal advocacy services.
  • Work with your friend where they are at that moment and recognize their need to move at their own pace. Give your friend the time needed to make decisions on their own.
  • Acknowledge the reality of the losses that is being faced.
  • If your friend is not ready to make major changes in life, do not take away your support.
  • If your friend remains in the relationship, continue to be a friend while, at the same time communicating that they do not deserve to be in a violent situation.
  • If your friend is planning to leave, encourage them to call YWCA 24-hour Crisis and Support Helpline to safety plan and understand options.
  • Let your friend know you can help locate and understand materials about domestic violence. Offer to keep a file of these materials in a safe place in your home for your friend.
  • Keep YWCA safety cards on hand.

What should you avoid saying and doing?

  • Do not tell your friend what to do, when to leave or not to leave.
  • Do not give advice.
  • Do not tell your friend to go back and try a little harder to make the relationship work.
  • Do not try to rescue your friend or make decisions.
  • Do not offer to try to talk to the partner or mediate to straighten things out.
  • Do not tell your friend to stay because of children, religious or cultural reasons.

Take care of yourself.

  • Be aware of your personal safety and do not do anything that puts you or your friend at more risk.
  • There is a risk that your relationship with the victim/survivor could become so dependent that you feel overwhelmed.
  • Be ready to refer your friend to YWCA 24-hour Crisis and Support Helpline to provide additional support and counseling.
  • Call YWCA 24-hour Crisis & Support Helpline yourself to discuss what you are experiencing, as a family member or friend of a DV survivor.
  • Don’t ever intervene physically; don’t ever threaten or confront the abuser.
  • Don’t try to save your friend by showing up unexpectedly.

Watch YWCA President & CEO Sharon K. Roberson and our Shear Haven co-founder Susanne Post on The Doctors talk show – May 2022. 

Read The Washington Post’s profile of our Shear Haven program and co-founder Susanne Post.

Listen to the Volume Up podcast from Read the Tease beauty blog, featuring Shear Haven co-founder Susanne Post.

Read / listen to Nashville’s NPR station, WPLN, report on the Shear Haven program.

Read Salon Evo’s profile on Shear Haven.

Read Main Street Nashville’s story on Shear Haven here. 

Watch the NewsChannel 5 report on Tennessee’s new state law and how beauty industry professionals are embracing it.

Click here to read CNN’s coverage of the new law requiring domestic violence education training for beauty professionals.

Click here to watch Nashville’s WSMV-TV’s coverage of the new law.

Click here to watch the ABC24 Memphis coverage of the new law.

Click here to read POPSUGAR’s story on Tennessee’s new law.

Click here to read coverage of this new law and how domestic violence impacts Black women and men in Essence. 

Click here to watch WAFF-TV’s coverage of the new law.

Click here to watch WATE-TV ‘s coverage of the new law.

Click here to watch WBBJ-TV’s coverage of the new law.

Click here to read the Bristol Herald Courier story on the new law.

Click here to read the New York Post’s coverage of the new Tennessee law and YWCA’s advocacy efforts.

Click here to view a July 29, 2021 report on the new Shear Haven law from WKRN-News 2 in Nashville.

Watch the NewsChannel 5 report on the Shear Haven anti-domestic violence education legislation that could help save lives.

Read about the launch of the Shear Haven online training in the beauty industry trade Behind the Chair. 

Listen to Shear Haven co-founder Susanne Post on the HandsomApp podcast here or read the story here.

Read more about Shear Haven Co-Founder Susanne Post in StyleBlueprint and NFocus Magazine.

View a Fox 17 Nashville report on Shear Haven here or a NewsChannel 5 story on this initiative below:

Shear Haven’s International Impact

Thanks to our partnership with Barbicide, our Shear Haven program has reached beauty professionals in 100+ different countries around the world. As of spring 2022,  more than 50,000 individuals have taken the training.

We’ve also partnered with industry leaders in Ireland and the United Kingdom to help educate practitioners there.  The initiative is having a tremendous impact overseas.

Click here to read how Shear Haven is helping stylists in the U.K. thanks to our ambassador Liz McKeon.  More stories are found below:

European Spa Magazine

Scratch Magazine UK 

Hairdresser’s Journal International

Irish Daily Mail 


Oh My Mag

The Independent UK

Professional Beauty Ireland

Professional Beauty UK

Virgin Radio UK

I Heart Radio UK

Irish Beauty

Beauty & Hairdressing 

Shear Haven Spotlight at Red Letter Day