Images of battered women invoke a sense of rage in many of us that can’t easily be quelled. Some, like the editors of Bulgarian zine, 12, profit off of the misery of these women with fashion shoots. But beauty vlogger Lauren Luke chose to take the high road by working with an anti-abuse group called Refuge to shed light on an issue that affects between 15 to 71 percent of women across the globe.
In her viral “How to look your best the morning after” video tutorial, Luke sits in front of the camera while demonstrating how to cover up a black eye, busted lip, and bruised neck. If that doesn’t get you squirming, I don’t know what would.
In this fictitious scenario, the beauty advisor with over 440,000 subscribers and 126 million video views has been pushed into a table by her partner –face first. Far from playing the part of a mag-worthy glamazon, her bruised face reflects the brokenness and dread of being a victim of domestic violence. As Refuge points out, “Hiding the physical effects of domestic violence is just one of the ways a woman might try to cover up what her partner has done to her…for thousands of women this is the reality of their everyday lives.”
In the video’s abrupt yet poignant end, a door can be heard slamming in the background. Luke reaches up to turn off her camera and the screen goes black, but her audience is left to believe that she will face the unspeakable yet again. And no amount of concealer will end the physical and emotional trauma.
One YouTube commenter wrote: “she is saying it best–ABUSE SHOULD NOT BE COVERED UP!!!” Gritty and raw, video’s message is clear: the time to stand up for women is now.