A VIDEO showing the indifferent reactions of many Thais to domestic violence in public has gone viral, clocking over 400,000 views on YouTube.
American YouTuber Nate Barling, who lives in Bangkok, set up a social experiment in which acts of domestic violence were staged at locations with high pedestrian traffic. An out-of-view camera would record the reactions of passersby to see if any of them would stop to intervene.
Setting out the rationale for the experiment, the video began with the following caption: “In 2016, 1 in 3 Thai homes will deal with domestic abuse. If you see something, would you help?”
The video showed a series of male-female couples at different locations, including a jogging path, a park, and a sidewalk. The male actor would physically and verbally abuse his female counterpart – tugging, pushing and/or dragging her as well as scolding her in public.
The results of the social experiment were dispiriting to say the least. Hardly any passersby intervened to stop the violence, although there were a few brave and enlightened individuals who did.
Around the 1 minute, a Caucasian man is seen asking the female actor, “Are you okay?” Her male counterpart tried to rebuff him by saying, “It’s [a] family [matter].” The man then replied, “I know, but it’s not cool.”
And around the 2:12 mark, a Thai jogger intervened, eventually causing a small group to gather to confront the ‘abusive’ actor.
At the end, Bartling (the man behind the video) said, “I understand that arguments happen, it’s a part of life, but it should never go as far as abuse, whether it’s a woman, child, or even a man. People who stoop that low are the garbage of society and we should not accept their actions.”
Domestic violence has long been a problem in Thailand – a fact backed up by statistical evidence. A UN report said in 2005, 44 percent of Thai women reported having been physically and/or sexually abused by a partner. And shockingly, over 7 in 10 women in rural Thailand concurred that there are reasons that justify a man hitting his spouse.
A more recent survey in 2012 found that domestic violence is experienced by 30.8 percent of Thai households, or nearly one in three.