When they logged on to her YouTube Channel this morning, Lauren Luke's viewers were expecting to see her familiar face and friendly northern tones. Instead, it's fair to say that she didn’t appear to be quite herself in her latest make-up video. Her usual bright eyes and dewy skin were marked by dark bruising, and her lips cut open – she looks like she’s been beaten. And, instead of teaching viewers how to achieve a new look as she does in her usual thread of Vlogs, Lauren is covering up the evidence.
‘If you apply a cover which is gently off-tone of your own skin tone you can cover any fresh bruising,’ Lauren explains. The video is uncomfortable watching – but it’s for good reason. It’s part of a campaign against domestic violence headed by charity Refuge, encouraging women to speak out if they are experiencing violence at home – and not to cover up their bruising.
Lauren’s injuries might be fake, but for thousands of women, it’s a daily reality. And just as in Lauren’s latest video, 65% of these women keep their wounds hidden. Watching Lauren wince as she attempts to cover over a black-eye, and wraps a scarf around her sore neck telling the viewer ‘If you’ve got bruising from a jealous partner, you can always wear your hair down to the side. If it’s not long enough, don’t worry because a scarf is idea for this…’ before swiftly shutting down the video when she hears a noise seconds later, only hits the message home harder.
And the message of video, entitled 'How to look your best the morning after', is grave. ‘Two women are killed by a current or former partner every single week in England and Wales,’ a spokesperson for Refuge said in a statement. ‘One woman in four will experience domestic violence at some point in her life. Yet, despite this, domestic violence is still, largely, a hidden crime. Victims of abuse often feel too afraid or ashamed to speak out and the myth that domestic violence is a private matter, to be dealt with behind closed doors, still persists.’
For Lauren, it’s a subject which is close to home, after she suffered an abusive relationship in the past. ‘To open up and be honest about something like this makes us feel weak among our friends and family,’ she explains. ‘But in actual fact there is nothing weak about it. Those who are abusive behind closed doors are the ones who are weak… Back then I knew the whole situation wasn't normal but I didn't know about the help that is out there and that is why I wanted to work with Refuge - to get the message out to anyone who may need help and support that it's time to stop covering it up.’
She's right. Watch the video below, or for more information on domestic violence and to sign an online petition to support Refuge, visit: www.refuge.org.uk/lauren