Young Boys Are Told to Slap a Girl in This Remarkable PSA About Domestic Violence

33 million views in 3 days

"What happens when you put a girl in front of a boy and ask him to slap her?"

Domestic abuse is a longtime problem in Italy. A 2012 United Nations report called it "the most pervasive form of violence" in the country. Former Prime Minister Enrico Letta called it femicide—the killing of women at the hands of current or former lovers.

Online Italian newspaper addresses domestic violence in the video below, but it features an unlikely group of people—children. Six boys between 7 and 11 years old are interviewed. They obediently give their names and ages, and say what they want to be when they grow up, and why.

The interviewer then introduces a pretty girl named Martina, and it's obvious all of the boys are slightly enamored. They're asked to tell the interviewer what they like about her (her shoes and her hands!). They make funny faces at her, caress her (this includes gentle arm and face touching).

Finally the interviewer says: "Slap her. Hard." What happens next is fairly predictable, but pretty remarkable nonetheless.

The video (a project by Ciaopeople Media Group) has been viewed almost 33 million times on Facebook in three days. It's heartwarming and contains a powerful, effective message addressing a serious problem. It's just the kind of thing I'm happy to see go viral.

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Roo Powell is freelance contributor to Adweek.