Moroccan state TV shows women how to cover up domestic abuse bruises

There’s a side to domestic abuse most people probably don’t think about — the days, or sometimes weeks, of having to conceal a bruise, a swollen cheekbone, or strangulation marks. As a survivor of domestic abuse, I can relate to this Moroccan TV domestic abuse makeup tutorial teaching women how to cover up their domestic abuse injuries. One of the first things I did as a non-makeup wearer after getting pounded in the face was search YouTube for how to best cover up the marks so I could go to work (you can only lie to your boss about falling down the subway stairs so many times before they start to think you’re a moron). That’s exactly what this seemingly well-intentioned program was trying to do for women in Morocco, but it ignored what women really need to combat abuse.

A daily show, Sabahiyat, which is on a state-run channel, aired a cutesy segment with a makeup artist showing how to contour the bruises away. “We hope these beauty tips will help you carry on with your daily life,” the host said after instructing viewers to use a foundation with yellow in it instead of white to best conceal the bruises “after the beating.” On daytime, state-run television, which is possibly the most sickening thing you’ll hear all day.

The host, Lilia Mouline, began the segment saying, “It’s a subject we shouldn’t talk about, but unfortunately that’s what it is.” But instead of teaching women how to hide the bruises, it might be a better move for the Moroccan government to condemn men who beat their wives. The network took the clip off its website and said in a Facebook statement that the tutorial was “completely inappropriate and has an editorial error of judgment in view of the sensitivity and the gravity of the subject of violence against women.” Uh, ya think?

According to Human Rights Watch, 68 percent of Moroccan women said in a survey that they had suffered physical and emotional abuse. Of those women, 55 percent said it was “conjugal violence.” The other 13 percent was “familial.” Only 3 percent of those who were beat by their husbands reported it. Just three. Domestic violence plagues women everywhere, but it is rampant in Morocco.

Sadly, men all over the world beat the crap out of their partners, wives, girlfriends, sisters, and daughters. It’s become so normalized that some asshole at a television station thought a makeup tutorial giving women the tools to go on with their “daily lives” would be useful, since in Morocco, women who do report violence also say that police refuse to take their statements or arrest the abusers.

It is not totally illegal to abuse a woman in the country, which is why Moroccan women report seeking help from prosecutors only for the cops just sit back and send the women home. There is a new Family Bill, passed in March of this year, which increased the rights of Moroccan women and allows them to get a protection order, but it’s still not actually a crime to abuse a woman. A protection order has to be requested by a police officer, and many women don’t feel like they can approach the authorities, so it’s really a sick and scary cycle. And this is supposed to be one of the most “progressive” Middle Eastern countries, according to Newsweek.

In the United Kingdom, an anti-domestic violence organization used a makeup tutorial called “How to look your best the morning after” to reach out to women suffering from abuse. The video begins with a woman showing how to use a scarf to cover where you were strangled and how to use powder to cover up a black eye before the woman, YouTube star Lauren Luke, hears a noise and shuts her laptop. “Don’t cover it up,” the tagline reads. It’s a powerful PSA.

That a Moroccan television station thought this makeup tutorial segment was a good idea is insane. That two women participated in it shows how commonplace and normal domestic abuse has become. Shit, even the terms “domestic” and “conjugal” abuse sound so sterile and hardly conjure up the danger that comes with being beaten by another person on a regular basis. To end domestic violence, everyone needs to be outraged all the time and keep fighting for laws that actually protect women instead of giving them ways to cope, conceal, or manage their abuse.