I've gotten a lot of feedback on my ‪#‎HerBlackEyeIsOURBlackEye‬ pictures from last night. Reactions have ranged from shock and horror to fear to "I hate that photo of you" to complete misunderstandings about the reason I shared them. But most of the reactions have been supportive and encouraging.

Regardless of the reactions being positive or negative, though, the "black eye" photos have achieved the goal of making people ... "stop, take notice and ask questions. And be uncomfortable. Domestic violence isn't pretty, it's hideous on the inside and outside." (Thanks, Dee!)

I'd like to explain for those who haven't read my previous blog post.

John and I were invited to participate in an upcoming Social Media Campaign to bring awareness to ending domestic violence in our community. This is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. And this Saturday night our local Women's Resource Center in Beckley will be holding its 24th Annual Candlelight Vigil.

We will remember those who have lost their lives to domestic violence this year. And we will commit ourselves to new efforts to put an end to the violence.

John and I were HONORED to be asked to participate in the video being produced right now for this campaign. That's why I was made up with a "fake black eye" last night -- for the video. It will premiere at The Vigil Saturday evening. And after that you may see it shared on Facebook.

With my friend, Dee Sizemore
My friend Dee Sizemore is the Public Relations/Fundraising Development Coordinator for
The Women's Resource Center in Beckley, WV.

Dee and I met at a charity event shortly after John and I relocated to this area. We knew immediately that we would become great friends and, more importantly, that God had a purpose in our crossing paths that night.

Last night as we shot still photos and video for the campaign, it took a lot of effort for me to speak or even look into the camera without smiling. I'm always smiling. My smile is who I am. And I never lose sight of how blessed I am to have so much to smile about. On so many levels, my life could be very different today. And that is just one of the reasons I am so passionate about this issue. I'm grateful. And I want to make a difference for someone else.

I want to do everything within my power to back up this campaign and help end the violence. This is a serious problem and victims are everywhere.

Victims often suffer in silence and isolation.

My pictures were not intended to bring attention to me. They were and are intended to focus attention on DOMESTIC VIOLENCE; reminding people of the victims who are struggling to survive and/or overcome their wounds. The emotional wounds of abuse take much longer to heal than the physical wounds. The soul is damaged long after the bruises fade away.

I wish we could produce a visual to illustrate what abuse does to someone on the inside.