Powerful Video Showing What Italian Boys Think Of Domestic Violence


Domestic violence has been a huge topic in the media over the past year. Most notable cases have been seen in the NFL, and even bigger cases involving sexual assault and rape such as the University of Virginia rape of a freshman student.

There have been campaigns to raise awareness, and also viral hashtags like #whyistayed showing what a complex issue domestic violence is and why telling someone to just leave their abuser is not always a solution for some.

And it’s not just an issue that is confined to one country or culture. It is happening all over the world and as long as the media portrays domestic violence as a joke, or trendy, or fashionable, it will be hard to see any change. When boys and girls are assaulted with images from a young age of men being dominant over women in a way that renders them powerless and less than an object, they grow up thinking this is normal.

It is down to what parents and guardians choose to expose their kids to that will make a huge difference. Take for example the video below made in Italy, portraying what young boys think of violence towards women.

Italian media company fanpage.it created the video to show how both violence and pacifism can be taught at an early age.


It was a social experiment where a group of boys were asked various questions on camera. About halfway through a girl, Martina, enters the shot, and the boys are asked to pull funny faces at her, and then caress her. The last thing they are asked to do is slap her. Every giggly young boy immediately stops, turns to look at the crew behind the camera and looks shocked for being asked to do such a thing.

The overwhelming response is that violence toward a woman is wrong. And that is a great thing. But like the Huffington Post points out, there are some flaws within the powerful message.

They say that the issue of consent and portraying the woman as an equal powerful being to the boys is sorely missing. Telling the boys to hug Martina and caress her could subtly imply that this is ok, because it is not violence. None of the boys stopped when asked to do those things and mention that they did not have permission to hug the girl.

The one comment made that Martina shouldn’t be hit because “she’s pretty” implies that a certain level of physical attractiveness could determine whether one deserve to be hit or not.

Also, let’s not forget that domestic violence does also happen to men, and the message should be ALL levels of violence toward ANYBODY is wrong. These are crucial points missing from the video, but overall the video is on the right track.



The boy who mentions “I am against violence” brings home a solid message. He doesn’t say violence toward women, he just says violence. Period.

United Nations statistics show domestic abuse is “the most pervasive form of violence,” and almost 32 percent of women between the ages of 16 and 70 experience some form of physical or sexual violence in their lifetimes. So we can’t rule out that the way the issue of violence was tackled in this video also certainly has a specific slant toward the Italian culture.

In an article in the New York Times, reporter Elisabetta Povoledo writes that there is still a severe lack of support for battered women in Italy.

“According to the recommendations of a Council of Europe task force, countries should have one shelter place for a woman and her children for every 10,000 residents. By this measure, Italy should have about 5,700 spots available in shelters nationwide, but it has just 500.”

The country also lacks legal, medical, psychological and financial assistance for women who want to leave an abusive situation.

It is clear that the solution for domestic violence isn’t one-size-fits-all, and the key to changing the culture will be specifically targeting smaller communities, while promoting positive messages in the media.

Take a look at the video below for yourself and share your thoughts with us on whether you think this is an effective campaign or is lacking in some way:

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