We’ve written before about the infuriating and often dangerous nature of YouTube ‘social experiments’. But one released this week takes the absolute cake.
Simplistically called “Groping Social Experiment”, the video involves a man pretending to touch a woman on a tube train against her will, while she tries to induce bystanders to intervene.
Created by an account called Trollstation whose highbrow YouTube fare includes “Crazy Feminist Rants and Raves in Public” and “Black Guy Steals DVDs in Broad Daylight,” we actually thought twice about drawing attention to their terrible video.
But this needs to be said:
“Raising awareness” is not a valid excuse for staging sexual assault on public transport. In fact, we can’t think of any valid excuse for staging sexual assault on public transport.
While these fools profess to be encouraging people to step forward in situations like this, the actual outcome will be the exact opposite:
- No one who intervenes in the video will ever intervene again, because they’ll assume the assault is fake.
- People who watch the video won’t intervene if they see assault happening in real life, because they’ll assume it’s fake.
- Real sexual assaults will go unstopped and unreported because people will think they’re fake.
- People will hold back from intervening because they don’t want their face in some tacky viral video.
- A whole load of drooling morons who identify with ‘Trollstation’ will add fuel to their argument that sexual assault isn’t real, it’s just ‘bants’ for YouTube and Snapchat.
Videos like this don’t just fail to ‘raise awareness’. They actively cause harm. This video gives off the dangerous and inaccurate message that women who are assaulted in public are either complying with the harassment – ie they’re ‘actors’ – or they’ll react in the loud and unrealistic way this woman does.
Let me tell you something.
When a woman is assaulted, she very rarely has the presence of mind to start shouting “excuse me, excuse me, that’s sexual assault.” She’s much more likely to freeze like a rabbit in headlights, retreat into herself, zone out and pretend it’s not happening. That isn’t a failing on her part. It’s like drowning – what it looks like on TV is not what it looks like in real life. People don’t react the way you think they will.
Furthermore, a woman shouting “that’s sexual assault” publicly at a man who is assaulting her puts her more at risk. A real harasser isn’t going to quietly say “Oh sorry, I’ll keep my hands to myself.” His embarrassment is much more likely to make him angry, and his anger may make him hurt her.
This video – and all the other bullshit ‘social experiments’ that are actually just about viewing figures – has spectacularly succeeded in making us less safe. Bravo, guys, I hope you sleep soundly. Women won’t.
Main image: YouTube