Domestic Violence PSA Urges Women to Speak Up, Not Cover Up

PHOTO: YouTube makeup artist Lauren Luke conceals cuts and bruises for domestic violence PSA.
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Lauren Luke is famous for her YouTube makeup tutorials. But her latest clip, "How to look your best the morning after," is a plea for victims of domestic violence to speak up rather than cover up.

The video shows a battered-looking Luke working makeup magic to conceal the signs of abuse.

"If you apply a color that is just gently off-tone with your own skin tone, you can cover up any fresh bruising," she says, gently brushing foundation around a black eye. "It might hurt, just try your best."

The scene is part of Refuge.org's "Don't cover it up campaign" – a call for abused women to reach out for help.

"Sixty-five percent of women who suffer domestic violence keep it hidden," a black screen reads after a fearful Luke turns off the camera. "Share this and help someone speak out."

Luke's bruises were fake. But for some women, the morning after routine is all too real.

"Domestic violence is a huge issue and I really don't think it gets the exposure that it needs," Luke said in an interview posted on Refuge.org. "A lot of women follow us on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, so I just wanted to get the point out there and let everyone know that there's somewhere you can go if you need some support."

An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical abuse by a partner each year in the U.S., according to the National Coalition against domestic violence.

"Women cover it up for a number of reasons," said Nadine Kaslow, chief psychologist at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta. "They're often ashamed of what happened, and feel like it was in some way their fault. And often they don't want the perpetrator to get in trouble. They love them and they want to protect the relationship."

Some women fear that reporting abuse will only make their partner more violent, Kaslow said. And some women don't realize it's abuse at all.

"I'll ask, 'Are you in an abusive relationship?' and they'll say 'No.' But then I'll ask, 'Does your partner hit you?' and they'll say, 'Yes.'"

Kaslow said it's hard for women to ditch the cover-up and speak up instead but stressed that there's always support available.

"There are domestic violence hotlines. In most communities there are domestic violence shelters and in many communities there are support groups for domestic violence survivors," she said. "There are lots of different ways to reach out for help."

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