by 8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Senior Airman Jessica Hines
11/1/2012 - KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- At
first you don't think much of it; you might actually laugh at the
reactions you get. After a while, the stares start to get to you, so you
hang your head low and avoid making eye contact or walking through
This was a glimpse of my day with a black eye. Moulaged that morning as
part of the Black Eye Campaign by the Family Advocacy Clinic, it was how
Kunsan observed Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October.
"What we're hoping to see is that people take notice and are able to ask
the tough questions to see if their Wingmen are ok," said Capt. Sharise
Bijou, 8th Medical Operations Squadron Family Advocacy officer.
The clinic discretely asked for volunteers as to not give away the
objective for the campaign: to measure real-world responses of Wolf Pack
members and see if they could "ask the tough questions."
"This is not just a spousal problem, it's not just a women's problem,"
said Staff Sgt. Jennifer Lively, NCO in charge of Family Advocacy.
"Domestic violence can affect anyone and we want to make sure people
know where to get help if they ever find themselves or a friend a victim
of domestic violence."
For five days, the clinic moulaged black eyes and bruises on volunteers
and then sent them into their work centers, asking that the volunteers
provided feedback on their experiences.
At the beginning of the week, most participants experienced joking, avoiding eye contact or just staring.
At first, admittedly, I couldn't help but smile when I walked through
crowded areas such as the food court or Starbucks, knowing I had a black
eye painted on me.
Then, I started to run into my friends, some of whom almost had heart
attacks upon seeing me. To them, I give a heartfelt apology for putting
them through that.
The morning dragged on and I almost forgot it was there, keeping busy
and taking care of everyday tasks. A couple people would stare and
wonder, and a few others stepped up to ask what happened and if I was
With that, I'm confident I would easily be able to find support if I was a victim of domestic violence.
However, I learned a much bigger lesson about domestic violence looking at the world from behind the bruise.
It was easy to anticipate the reaction of my friends and co-workers. It
wasn't easy to guess who would approach you outside of that. Who had the
courage to approach me? Who would just stare? What would you do?
I found myself turning my head away from people so they couldn't see it,
or waiting till the hallway was less crowded to make my way to the
There was a point in the day when I just didn't want to deal with it
anymore, and was tempted to wash it off. I thought about what a victim
of domestic violence must feel like, having to live day to day with the
inward and outward bruises of abuse.
According to the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress, domestic violence includes:
· physical abuse (domestic violence)
· verbal or nonverbal abuse (psychological abuse, mental abuse, emotional abuse)
· sexual abuse
· stalking or cyberstalking
· economic abuse or financial abuse
· spiritual abuse
AAETS also identifies a series of warning signs, which can reasonably point to domestic abuse:
· Bruises and other signs of impact on the skin, with the excuse of "accidents"
· Depression, crying
· Frequent and sudden absences
· Frequent lateness
· Frequent, harassing phone calls to the person while they are at work
· Fear of the partner, references to the partner's anger
· Decreased productivity and attentiveness
· Isolation from friends and family
· Insufficient resources to live (money, credit cards, car)
If you or someone you know has been a victim of domestic violence,
contact your local Family Advocacy Clinic, first sergeant or supervisor.
While it may not always be a domestic violence case, asking the "tough questions" could make all the difference to someone.