That’s the disturbing finding of a public experiment conducted in a London park filmed for an advertisement about domestic violence against men. The video, created by DareLondon for the Mankind Initiative, shows how shocked and angry onlookers quickly intervene when the male actor fakes a violent assault on his ‘girlfriend’ – also an actor.
But when they change roles the public’s reaction – caught on three hidden cameras – is entirely different. Onlookers can be seen laughing as the woman physically abuses and belittles her partner in full view of dozens of people. The video has been viewed over a million times on YouTube and is generating discussion on Twitter with the hashtag #ViolenceIsViolence.
While the majority of family violence victims in Australia are women, domestic abuse against men is more common than often thought. Australian Bureau of Statistics figures from December show 33.3 percent of people abused by their current partner are men. Greg Andresen, senior researcher with male domestic abuse support group One-In-Three, said the video highlights two assumptions male abuse victims face: that they are probably at fault and that they should “man up” and take it.
“Even when the tables are turned people assume that he’s the abuser and she’s probably just getting her own back,” Andresen told ninemsn. “It’s a sort of ‘you go girl’ attitude.” He also believes people do not rush to help the man because men are “big and tough” and are never going to be seriously hurt.
“The evidence shows that when men are in an abusive relationship women are more likely to compensate by using weapons such as knives, guns or pouring boiling water over their partners,” he said. “Violence happens to men too and people should never think of violence as a joke.”