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Team Travis raises awareness for domestic violence

Airman 1st Class Christian Graham, 60th Diagnostics and Therapeutics Squadron medical lab technician, shows the bruises on his neck that were put on him for a domestic violence awareness experience at Travis Force Base, Calif., on Oct. 24, 2017. The month of October is recognized as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. (U.S. Air Force photo by Latrise Muchison)

Airman 1st Class Christian Graham, 60th Diagnostics and Therapeutics Squadron medical lab technician, shows the bruises on his neck that were put on him for a domestic violence awareness experience at Travis Force Base, Calif., on Oct. 24, 2017. The month of October is recognized as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. (U.S. Air Force photo by Latrise Muchison)

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --

Sixteen Airmen from the 349th and 60th Air Mobility Wings met at David Grant USAF Medical Center on Oct. 24 to have their faces made up with injuries by a moulage team. The Airmen included six men and 10 women ranging in age from 18 to 50, and ranks from airman to major.

The Team Travis volunteers had faux injuries and bruises applied to their faces to observe the reactions of the people they would interact with throughout the day. This exercise was a part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and is held in the hope to increase awareness, response and outreach.

The volunteers were instructed not to role-play, but to thank those who checked on them and asked them if they were ok, said Latrise Muchison, Family Advocacy Outreach manager.

“Most of the volunteers felt disappointed and mentally exhausted,” she said. “The experiment was an eye-opener for them.”

Many of the men were frustrated because those who checked on them assumed they were in a fight or sports accident.

Senior Airman Joshua San Agustin, 60th Comptroller Squadron travel pay technician, was working at the customer service desk throughout the day. After seeing more than 50 people, only three people checked on him.

“Domestic violence can happen to anyone,” he said. “A lot of people who are victims don’t open up about it, so we need to be aware.”

Staff Sgt. Maria Howe, 349th Air Mobility Wing finance technician, volunteered for the experiment because she personally knows people who have been affected by domestic violence.

“Since I work in customer service, I wanted to see what the responses would be,” she said.

A few people were alarmed when she arrived for work with a giant bruise on her face, Howe said. The Citizen Airman received great responses from her chain of command.

Most of the volunteers said that they were checked on by those who knew them, Muchison said. However, they often felt ignored by strangers.

“I would distinctly try to make eye contact with people as I was working with them,” Howe said. “They would purposefully look away and avoid eye contact.”

The volunteers said the results from this experience was a bit of a wake-up call, Muchison said. It made them more cognizant of what actual victims go through with all of the looks and stares from everyone.

The overall exercise went well. “Several of volunteers said they would like to do this again next year,” Muchison added.