A new video showing our different responses to violence against men and violence against women is taking the internet by storm.
What would you do if you saw a man attacking a woman in the street? Would you step in and help or would you walk on by—and more importantly would you respond any differently if it was a woman attacking a man?
That’s the big question that UK charity The ManKind Initiative has been itching to explore for some time and this month they finally found out with a “candid camera” style stunt filmed in a busy London street in broad daylight.
With the help of the creative agency, Dare, ManKind released an online ad showing different public reactions to the public abuse of men and women. The awareness-raising video shows a couple, played by actors, fighting in the street to see how the public will respond.
In the first scenario the man attacks his female partner and passers by quickly step in to help the woman. In the second scenario, the woman attacks man but nobody comes to his help and many onlookers are shown laughing as the man is assaulted.
The video, released last week, has become a global viral hit notching up more than 5 million views on YouTube alone and sparking numerous media debates in the UK and beyond.
The innovative campaign was prompted by the public reaction to film footage of Beyonce’s sister Solange attacking the rapper Jay Z in a lift, which saw people using the hashtag #WhatJayZSaidToSolange to make light of the incident. In response, some social media users hit back with the #ViolenceIsViolence hashtag as they attempted to make the point that a woman violently attacking a man is not comedy, it’s a crime.
Spotting an opportunity to take this important conversation to a new level, the ManKind Initiative—a charity that runs a helpline for male victims of domestic violence in the UK—-adopted the #ViolenceIsViolence hashtag for a two minute advert that’s got people thinking and talking about our inconsistent atttitudes towards violence against men and women.
What the film shows is our collective tolerance towards violence against men and boys in action. Researchers have found that both men and women are more likely to tolerate violence when the victim is male. This social conditioning seems to set in before we reach adulthood. One British survey found that girls and boys are 10 to 15 times more likely to say it’s okay for a woman to hit her male partner for nagging or arguing than vice versa.
The point that those who are using the #ViolenceIsViolence hashtag are seeking to make is that if we want to create a safer world for everyone, then we need to become equally intolerant of violence, irrespective of the gender of the victim and perpetrator.
That starts with us checking our own attitudes and beliefs and asking ourselves, with our hands on our hearts, if we treat the sexes equally in this regard, or if we find it a little bit funny, or take it a little less seriously, when a woman hits a man?
To find our more about the charity The ManKind Initiative or to make a donation to support their work see www.mankind.org.uk.
—Photo Credit: This is Dare/The Mankind Initiative