Even when domestic violence comes out from behind closed doors and into public spaces, people still hesitate to intervene, according to a new social experiment video.
A Swedish video published by the group STHLM Panda created a social experiment in which male actors pretended to verbally and physically abuse their presumed girlfriends in a public elevator.
Over the course of two days of filming, the eye-opening social experiment captured multiple people witnessing domestic violence and not intervening.
Press the settings button on the bottom right of the video to turn on English subtitles.
“You're nothing, you understand? You're worthless!” one actor yelled at the actress while he pinned her against the wall.
Another actor pushes the actress into the wall and yells "I will kill you, I will f***ing kill you."
Surprisingly, one bystander even asked the couple: "Excuse me, can you let me get out of here before you do that?"
Out of the 53 people STHLM Panda says rode the elevator and saw the abuse take place, they say only one woman said something. “I’m gonna call the police if you touch her again," the onlooker said to the actor.
Co-creator of YouTube group STHLM Panda and actor in the video Konrad Ydhage told The Guardian they made the video to "test domestic violence and violence in close relations and to see if people react when they really need to.”
Ydhage added that they were expecting a lot more people to do something, telling The Guardian: “We were expecting that about 50 percent would intervene. I was prepared to take a hit by the bigger lads who entered the lift. But sadly enough they walked out on the girl.”
Ydhage and the group say they spoke with most of the people who rode the elevator. "Most of them said they felt ashamed of themselves for not reacting and said they were glad it was an experiment," he told The Independent. "Some people claimed they were going to call the police, but we think that that is lie. We filmed it over two days and the police never showed up once."
While only one person intervened in the elevator, it's difficult to determine how many people planned to alert the authorities, though the creators say some of the elevator riders claimed they were going to.
Although it's shocking that only one person attempted to stop the abuse, Kim Gandy, President and CEO of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, told The Huffington Post in an email that she would not recommend physical intervention for a bystander, woman or man, "as it may place the victim in greater jeopardy."
"Nonetheless, intervention is extremely important," Gandy said. "And you have to make your own determination of safety and level of intervention (for example, you might do something different if you are alone than you would if your children were with you), whether it is disrupting what is happening (asking for directions, asking what time it is), telling the abuser 'I see what you are doing and it is wrong,' or simply calling 911 right away. Any of these could save a life."