How makeup helped me face my assailant in court


In the court of law, you're expected to look as professional as possible: you wear modest clothing, your hair is neatly tucked back and visible tattoos and piercings are covered. And in my case, as a beauty enthusiast, less makeup was encouraged. I heard it all: "Wear little to no makeup. You'll want to look as innocent as possible."

"You might want to dye your hair to a natural color."

"Don't make yourself look any older."

"You should probably tone down your makeup for the trial."

It's important to acknowledge that my everyday makeup does not consist of a 45 minute routine: foundation, a subtle contour, winged eyeliner and mascara are all part of my day-to-day look. I can do my whole makeup routine in 10 minutes.


So when I was advised by multiple people to "tone it down" for my court case against my assailant, I was upset. Makeup is my safety net, something I always find comfort in, but not in the sense that I feel insecure without it because I can go a day or two without anything on my face and it isn’t a tragedy. But when I put on my eyeliner, I feel just as sharp, strong and bold as the wing I've created.

Why wouldn’t I want to feel that way on one of the most important days of my life? On a day where I would have to be face-to-face with my former best friend and the person who hurt me the most, where I would have to retell, for what felt like the hundredth time, how I was sexually assaulted by someone I used to trust with my life.

Granted, my case is being handled through the military court system, which tends to be a bit more strict and uniform than civilian court. Knowing this, I did take some precautions and braided my hair back in a way where the teal color was not very noticeable.

I refused, however, to give anyone the power to take away the only thing I found comfort in. Alone in my hotel room, in a random state across the country, 20 minutes before I was to meet my lawyer and head to trial, I grabbed my waterproof Kat Von D tattoo liner and just winged it. This person already took away all the trust I could have ever hold in a person — I would not let him take away my confidence, as well.

As I made my way towards the conference room, I was nervous. I had four grown men walking with me, all lawyers, all on my side. My hair and makeup looked great and was prepped in a way where if I did cry, I would still look #flawless. I'm a firm believer in that when you look good, you feel good. Walking into the room where my assailant sat across from me with his lawyers, I realized that I was getting justice. And I felt good.

This writer wished to remain anonymous because she is still involved in the legal process and court case against her assailant.