An Italian video journalist’s public service announcement project featuring pre-teen boys and their views on violence against women has reached an impressive milestone after just six weeks. As of Thursday, it had been viewed more than 26.5 million times on YouTube. In the three-minute clip, which is part of an anti-domestic violence campaign, the boys are interviewed and then asked to interact with an unknown girl.
They are asked to “caress her,” a command all the boys willingly obeyed. But when the interviewer asks the boys to look at the girl and “slap her, hard,” they all refuse. Asked why he refused, one boy said, “Because I’m against violence.” Another boy said, “As the saying goes, girls should never be hit, not even with a flower.” And a third boy declared, “Because I’m a man.”
The video journalist, Luca Lavarone, produced the clip for the Italian news company fanpage.it. The boys were aged 6 to 11, according to a report by the Telegraph. It is unclear if any of the boys were coached in the production of the video. Lavarone, presumably the video’s interviewer, is also an editor for fanpage.it. and a “passionate musician,” according to the bio on a Twitter account to appears to belong to him.
The campaign’s theme reflects the global problem of violence among youth. Physical fighting and bullying are common among young people, according to the World Health Organization, a United Nation agency. A recent WHO study of 40 developing countries found that exposure to violence and bullying was common in up to half of boys and in more than a third of girls. In the U.S., roughly 1.5 million high school boys and girls admitted they'd been intentionally hit or physically harmed in 2014 by someone they were romantically involved with, according to a dating abuse study by the NO MORE Project.