Hope For Humanity Doesn’t Bruise So Easily

, , , | Hopeless | April 9, 2018

Some years back, when we were about 16 or so, my best friend and I volunteered to help out at a Human Trafficking Awareness campaign. It was held at a mall. We were basically live “mannequins” in shop windows, acting as different kinds of human trafficking victims, while other volunteers handed out leaflets and talked with shoppers and passers-by about human trafficking.

All the live mannequins had makeup done by a professional, giving us fake bruises, cuts, and whatnot. They were very realistic; the person who did our makeup worked on local movie and TV sets as a makeup artist. I was given a particularly nasty bruised eye and a split lip, as well as random bruises around my arm. My friend had bruises on her cheek and cuts on her forehead and arms.

We worked in shifts of one or two hours, and during one of our breaks, my friend and I decided to get some food from a nearby restaurant, also inside the mall, since we were hungry, and lunch wasn’t for another few hours. We got some weird stares from people, and many double-takes as we walked to the restaurant.

Nobody said anything or approached us, until we were lining up to place our order at the counter. An elderly lady was walking by when she spotted us chatting, and paused, doing a double-take. Instead of moving on like everyone else, though, she approached us and asked, in a mixture of broken English and Cantonese, if our boyfriends had beaten us up and if we needed help. We quickly assured her that we were fine and that it was part of a campaign. She didn’t look so convinced, and said something to the effect of, “Are you sure? You don’t have to lie and cover it up for him.” I ended up wiping a little of the fake blood and one of the bruises on my arm off to show her, and handing her a flier I luckily had on me.

She happily went on her way after that.

It’s something that has stuck with me after all these years. Out of everyone who saw what appeared to be genuine bruises and cuts on our faces and hands, she went out of her way to stop and ask us how we were doing.

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