Black Eye Campaign raises domestic violence awareness

A volunteer from the 48th Logistics Readiness Squadron poses for a portrait at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Oct. 21, after having a simulated bruise applied to her eye . The bruise was applied as part of this year’s Black Eye Campaign, an event put on to raise awareness for domestic violence. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Eli Chevalier)

A volunteer from the 48th Logistics Readiness Squadron poses for a portrait at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Oct. 21, after having a simulated bruise applied to her eye . The bruise was applied as part of this year’s Black Eye Campaign, an event put on to raise awareness for domestic violence. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Eli Chevalier)

A 48th Medical Group simulation coordinator applies a simulated bruise to a Black Eye Campaign volunteer from the 48th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Oct. 21. The Black Eye Campaign is an event put on to raise awareness for domestic violence. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Eli Chevalier)

A 48th Medical Group simulation coordinator applies a simulated bruise to a Black Eye Campaign volunteer from the 48th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Oct. 21. The Black Eye Campaign is an event put on to raise awareness for domestic violence. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Eli Chevalier)

A Black Eye Campaign volunteer from the 48th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron looks at his simulated bruise at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Oct. 21. The Black Eye Campaign is an event put on to raise awareness for domestic violence. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Eli Chevalier)

A Black Eye Campaign volunteer from the 48th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron looks at his simulated bruise at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Oct. 21. The Black Eye Campaign is an event put on to raise awareness for domestic violence. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Eli Chevalier)

ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England -- Everyone in the office glanced up to greet their usually-cheery coworker.

They averted their eyes when she walked in, and the Airman pretended not to notice, forcing a smile, applying a fragile look of indifference.

Eventually, one of her fellow Airmen approached her and asked if she was alright, staring at the prominent dark-purple bruise covering her eye .

Airmen from across the 48th Fighter Wing volunteered to wear simulated bruises to their work places to spark conversations about Domestic Violence Awareness Month at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Oct. 21.

“It’s really to raise awareness and to measure bystander intervention,” said a 48th Medical Group Family Advocacy domestic abuse victim advocate. “Do we have the coworkers and colleagues who are going to be able to say, ‘Hey, what happened to you?’”

The 48th MDG simulation center staff applied simulated bruises to the faces, necks and arms of three Liberty Airmen. The volunteers were then sent out to their workplaces and instructed to record the types of responses they received.

“I was excited, up until I walked into my work building,” said a volunteer from the 48 Logistics Readiness Squadron. “I tried to hide my face in the beginning, but I later found out, after being in the building for only a few moments, that someone had gone to the first sergeant and reported my bruises.”

After participating in the event, the volunteers briefed their commanders and family advocacy members on their experiences. Commanders had the chance to ask questions to the volunteers to better understand reactions or lack thereof.

According to the information collected from the data sheets, Family Advocacy found the majority of volunteers felt they received positive responses from their coworkers.

It is important to remember that it never hurts to ask if someone is OK. It’s up to people everywhere to look out for one another.