Event gives domestic violence victims their smiles back

By Anyssa Roberts | Assistant News Editor

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Five years ago, Deborah Robinson started the process of leaving her abusive husband.

But years of domestic violence had already taken a toll on her dental health. By the time she was safe from her husband, she was left with seven of her teeth.

“I used to look in the mirror and cry on a daily basis knowing this is what people saw when they looked at me,” she said.

Robinson turned to the UK College of Dentistry’s chapter of the American Association of Women Dentists (AAWD) for help in restoring her smile.

Saturday in the Student Center Grand Ballroom, UK’s AAWD chapter hosted their annual fall fashion show and fundraising event to benefit neglected and abused victims of domestic violence like Robinson.

“These women are trying to protect themselves or their families and they neglect their own health,” said Darlene Thomas, executive director of the Bluegrass Domestic Violence Program. “I just think things like this are important for these women’s confidence and their health.”

Thomas was a guest speaker at this year’s event. She spoke about women’s abuse and the importance of the work being done to stop it.

Besides neglecting their health, she said some women are victims of physical abuse in which their spouse damages their teeth.

Robinson also shared her story as an example of a woman in this type of situation.

Between 200 and 250 donations were received for auction.

The fashion show featured clothes from Gap, Bella Rose, Ann Taylor and several other local boutiques.

The show was a success, said Kelly Goodpaster, president of the AAWD chapter.

“It’s a silent conversation,” Robinson said about domestic abuse. “Through change we can start that conversation.”