Don’t cover it up

In 2012, Refuge teamed up with its pro-bono partners BBH and make-up artist Lauren Luke for a powerful video campaign.

Thousands of women experience domestic violence in this country every day, yet it remains a hidden crime. Research shows that 65% of women who experience domestic violence keep it hidden. Many women are too frightened to speak out – instead they try to cover up the abuse. At Refuge we want women to break the silence, to realise they are not alone, and to reach out and get help and support.


The video

In the short, unsettling video, make-up artist and popular blogger Lauren Luke appears onscreen with severe cuts and bruises on her face.

Her injuries are fake, but the viewer is led to believe that they were inflicted on her by an abusive partner.

Lauren proceeds to deliver her make-up tutorial, calmly applying foundation to cover up her bruises and giving practical tips on how to minimise the effects of physical violence.

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. She may also withdraw from seeing her family and friends and become isolated, afraid to tell anyone what she’s going through. Lauren’s cuts, bruises and fear are fictitious. But for thousands of women this is the reality of their everyday lives.

The impact

Reaching young people 250Reaching young people

Lauren Luke has a huge online following of teenage girls and young women. Refuge wanted to create a powerful campaign that would speak to this group, since domestic violence is alarmingly common among teenagers. Research shows that 65% of women aged 18-25 who experience domestic violence keep it hidden. Hear more about why Lauren took part in the campaign here, and find out more about the support Refuge offers young people here.

Daily Mail Femail front page 250Raising awareness

Refuge encouraged viewers to bring domestic violence out of the shadows by sharing Lauren’s video. It has now been viewed by more than 2.6 million people. The campaign received more than 550 pieces of coverage across the world, from Austria to Argentina, Iceland to Israel, with The Telegraph describing it as “A YouTube video the world should see”. In the first 48 hours following the launch, the Refuge website received the same number of visitors as it usually receives in two weeks.

lauren 250Winning Awards

The ‘Don’t cover it up’ campaign won more than 20 national awards, including ‘Best use of the web’ at the Charity Times Awards, ‘Marketing on a Shoestring’ at the Marketing Society Awards for Excellence and being named the ‘Gold of Golds’ overall winner across all categories at the Creative Circle Awards.