“How to look your best the morning after”, PSA make-up tutorial

Trigger Warning:
This post deals with domestic violence from both intimate partners and parents. This can be triggering for persons who have been trhough this. As always, if you're being hurt, please seek help! There are some numbers at the bottom of the blog, and you can always call the Hotline at 1.800.799.SAFE.
I technically have a log-in for YouTube, just like everyone else with a Google log-in. I never post anything, and never surf it. If I'm over at YouTube, it's because I'm looking for something specific, or a friend sent me a song or game vid link. I've even gone digging when I heard about “newspaper print nails” [that'd be using newspaper like silly putty to print in your fingernails, it looks pretty cool] but I had never gone looking for make-up tips on YouTube. This is why I had missed the make-up videos posted by the very talented Ms. Lauren Luke. [her channel is here, if you're interested. She's a very good make-up artist, and fun to watch] 

I guess she has her own make-up line and brushes and everything! But I'm way behind the times there, so don't mind me. I wear Rimmel and Cover Girl, and an awesome herbal make-up named Palladio. Oh, and that killer mascara by Maybelline, that “Stiletto” line.

While I do wear make-up, and I'm very good at applying it properly, [cover up and all that good stuff] I never did spend a lot of time watching other people put it on. It's not that it isn't interesting, and amazing to see the tips and tricks, but it's deadly boring to dig them out some times! I'm more of a trial and error type person when it comes to putting my face on, and once I get something down, and it works, I stick with it. I'm a boring make-up wearer.

Well, it seems that Ms. Luke is working with a group in her native UK named Refuge and made a public service announcement. Now, PSA's tend to be either terribly hokey and silly, or stupidly simplistic. Remember the entire “This is your brain” campaign? Very simple, very stupid and it didn't say much except some asshole evidently didn't like fried eggs! How about the “No one wants to be a junkie when they grow up”-- remember that one? I was very small when I first saw that one, and even I thought it was stupid then. I imagine most teens seeing it at the time (in the mid 80's) tittered manically over their joints watching that one.

That is the problem with most PSA's. They're trying to say something so very very important, and deep and serious and grown-up in 15 or 30 seconds. Half a minute isn't nearly enough time for nuance-- so they go for shock, quickly stated facts, or scare-phrases like “some kids end up getting high and it messes with their dreams”. For a little kid, that can be terrifying; for a teen-ager, it's something to laugh at over your joint. Not really getting the point across, are they?

Others, like the current crop of “Oh, for the love of everything good, please don't do Meth!” aren't too bad. I saw one that was side-by-side mug shots of meth users narrated by the “generic male narrator, number 4”. The visual was stunning! Their physical degradation was frightening and very sad. I don't know if it made anyone stay off meth who wasn't already thinking, “Why in the fuck would I use this shit! It's got ether, and cat litter in it, for fucks' sake!” But I can hope, right? I know it won't make a meth user stop, because I knew one, and he swore he'd never be like “those guys”. I mean, he only used a little, maybe once a week, or something. Typical user-speak, but any addicted person, to any substance, recognises themselves in those words. I remember what it was like when I wasn't ready to quit smoking; I'd never get cancer, because I didn't smoke that much, I mean, really!

That's the interesting thing about public service announcements, I think-- just the myriad ways they try to use to get us to pay attention to their message.

That's what makes Luke's vid so powerful.

It opens with her sitting in front of a cam like any other person who does vids for YouTube. She's got a huge, scary, realistic shiner on her left eye, cuts on her nose and mouth, and faint bruising on her throat. There is some lighter, but still nasty bruising on her chin and along her jaw line, too. She looks like she's been beaten pretty good.

She calmly apologises for “not being online” as she's “had a bit of a rough time” and then starts in on “how to cover up”, “if you have some bruising” or “cuts from watches or rings”. She even tells her viewers “if you've some bruising from a jealous-type partner you can wear your hair down, or use a scarf” and then calmly ties a pretty sunny yellow scarf around her neck.

As she's covering up her eye, “if you've got a lot of bruising, from being pushed hard against a coffee table” her calm demeanour is eerie, and just gets more so as the vid goes on.

There's a thump and her face tightens in fright. She lunges to shut off the camera eyes wide, and then rolls the statistic that 65% of women who are abused cover it up “Don't cover it up” motif and Refuge's name.

To say it was powerful is an understatement, but really I don't know how else to describe it. You'll have to see it for yourself.

I was never beaten by a partner, but that covering up is real enough to me. There were plenty of times I had to cover up, wear long sleeves, long pants, even make up on my face to cover marks made by my mother. I know I'm not alone there, as it's a staple of fundamental Christianity to beat the fuck out of your kids. I know that fear, that lunging to stop doing whatever you were doing to cover up, out of fear of making the abuser more angry-- angry enough to mark you some more!

Luke stated that she was never in a physically abusive relationship, but the fear is real-- she'd been emotionally and mentally abused. I know that pain, too. That fear, that walking on eggshells feeling.

That might be why it hit me so hard, this vid. It's just a woman in make-up, covering it up with more make-up after all. I've done my oldest up in make-up bruises and a bloody nose for Hallowe'en (he was a hockey player that year) and so I know how to make those bruises myself. Seeing them on another person's face, ones that I didn't paint there, ones that look very very real is still harsh. Bruising is ugly, even if you know logically it's painted on-- they don't look painted, they look real, and painful and you hurt just looking at them.

The point of this PSA, and any that follow, are that covering up the marks doesn't make the abuse go away. Some times women who are being beaten need to know that they're not alone, they don't have to “handle it” by themselves, and that there is help. 

Don't cover it up, get help-- nice thought, and I truly hope it gets some results. Especially given that Luke has a dedicated following in cyberspace of young women and teens-- often the least likely to admit to being physically abused, and the demographic with the least amount of age-won wisdom to know how to get help. When you're 16 and in love and your boyfriend hits you, no one tells you it's not normal! You don't have any history to tell you that it's wrong. You know you love this guy, and he says he loves you, and you make him so mad he can't control himself sometimes, but he'll never do it again, he loves you so much! It must, therefore be your fault, so you work harder not to make him mad, and be the perfect girlfriend!

Girls need Lauren's message just as much as women in their 30's do-- probably more so as the adults in their lives often don't want to see or know if abuse is happening-- their kids aren't having sex and of course they don't have to deal with “real life” or “grown up problems” like domestic violence. That is for "the Other people" who let their kids slut it up and of course we're so much better than they are!

Unfortunately we do. Women have to deal with DV at every age, whether it's our parents or our partners doing the hitting, the shouting, the screaming. The threats. The humiliation. The emotional black-mail; the belittling; the disregarding of our own thoughts; the “gas lighting” of our emotions and feelings. We have to deal with it-- even if people around us want to pretend that the men in our lives “would never”. Even if the people in our lives pretend that our parents would never. Shit, some times the adults in our lives are encouraged to do the abusing! Thank you churches...

Being beaten doesn't make us weak. It doesn't mean we are incapable or unable. It doesn't mean  you're bad, or naughty or being rebellious to god! You can't make someone beat you. It's their choice to cross those boundaries and inflict that harm. It's not your fault.

Often it just means there's someone in our lives with 1-anger problems, 2-no empathy and 3-more strength than we have. If it's your parents, it's not even strength so much as upbringing. I've been taller and heavier than my mother since I was about 12. I was taught from the earliest memories that I have, that if I was bad she'd spank me; she did this because she loved me. So if I got beat it was because I was bad-- not because she was out of control.

That last part took a long time to get fully rooted out, for me. To really wrap my head around the truth was very hard; it didn't change the truth, though: She was out of control. 

She beat me for the last time when I was about 14 or 15. She hit me the last time when I was about 23. I was still trying to come to grips with the fact that "it was wrong, that she actually assaulted me!" when I was 30 and she threatened me. She never hit me again, because I told her if she did, I'd call the police. My Dad stood in support of me, and she knew it, so she backed down. I told her assault wasn't chastisement, that loving someone did not mean beating the shit out of them when they said or did something you didn't like.

I'm an adult. If you lay one hand on me or my children, that's assault, and I will press charges.”

Those were some of the most powerful words I ever said to her. Her strength over me was gone; her perceived moral high-ground, if you will. That place abusers are mentally where it makes it OK for them-- in their own minds-- to hurt, harm and physically attack people.

But if she was a man, a partner, that would have set her off, and there is a very good chance that only my Dad being present would have prevented an attack. I've noticed abusers tend not to act physically in the presence of others. They need the quiet, the solitude, the shadows, to act. They don't want people to see. Not people who will act to prevent it, anyway. Little kids are fine, they'll be intimidated into shutting the fuck up, and doing what the fuck they're told!

I don't have any personal experience in being beaten by an intimate partner. I have a sister who has been harmed; I have friends and former friends who were harmed. I feel pretty damned lucky that I escaped that. Once my ex came close. Too close.

We were packing the car to go to Michigan. He said something about how it was all my fault we were moving, that it was my fault we weren't staying in Texas.

“You got out of the Army, never found work, and did you best to make sure I got fired! You kept dropping the kids off at the studio when I was working! How is this my fault?” I was frustrated and angry. I'd already told him I wasn't even sure I wanted him to go with me and my kids. He could stay in Texas for all I cared.

He got angry and turned to me. Then, to my surprise he grabbed my arms and leaned in like he was going to bite off my nose.

“Go ahead,” I said, quirking my left eyebrow. I do that when I'm making a point. It's my all purpose quirk. I even do it when I'm making a dead-pan joke. You can tell though, when I'm not amused, I do it when I'm getting close to pissed off. It's the “go ahead, make my day” face: quirked eyebrow, flat eyes, thinned lips.

“Go ahead,” I said again, reaching up to take off my glasses and calmly setting them on the car roof. “I dare you. Hit me. Right here, in the car park. See if I don't press charges after I make you eat pavement. Hit me right here, in front of God and every body.”

I wasn't afraid, strangely enough. I was numb. We weren't going to be married for much longer, I knew. If he finally decided to hit me, it wouldn't have surprised me one bit. He'd wanted to punch me for a long time, I knew.

He backed off.

I was lucky.

Most of the time that doesn't happen. If the attack doesn't happen out there, “in front of God and every body”, it happens as soon as the door is closed, as soon as no adult is there to see it. As soon as the abuser has the privacy he needs to perpetrate his actions.

My ex knew I'd not only let him hit me, I'd beat the shit out of him in retaliation, and still get his ass thrown in jail. Texas does that, at least. Then I'd have the kids, the furniture and be in Michigan, while he'd have nothing. I would have left him there. He knew that.

He knew he was wrong.

Most abusers don't think they're wrong. They know in their hearts they're right, and if only she hadn't done that, said that, make that face, looked at him like that, then he wouldn't have had to hit her! She made him!

My mother always told us that. If only we had not done that thing, she would not have had to hit us.

She was also wrong.

I hope Refuge gets their message out. I really do. I don't want anyone to be abused. And if someone is, I want them to know where to go to be safe. No one deserves to be hit, smacked, beaten. No one deserves to have their bodily boundaries invaded like that.

If you are being abused, by your parents, in the name of God, or your boyfriend or girlfriend because “you're making them”, please, listen to me...

There is no reason to ever do that.

No one made them hit.
They chose.

Now, you need to choose: Please run like hell!

Call 9-1-1, or call the "non-emergency line" for local police resources. Speak to your school counsellor and they can get Child Protective Services (or whatever it's called in your state) involved. You can call your local women's shelter, too.

Go to The Hotline [National Domestic Violence Hotline] or call them at 1.800.799.SAFE

What if you don't know if you're in an abusive relationship? Or someone you know might be? Go here, to the HelpGuide. They have a really good listing of signs, and link back to the Hotline. 

Or go here, to the National Centre for Victims of Crime. At the bottom is a listing of some helpful orgs, but the body is very full of information.

This graphic is the circle of violence. Not all violence is physical, but it's all wrong.


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