If you have not seen this video from 2015, I highly recommend it. It features several Italian boys between 7 and 11 years old (Don’t worry, there are subtitles). There is a youthful innocence about these kids, and some of them are really funny!
The narrator asks the boys some routine questions: their names and ages; what they want to be when they grow up and why. Then, they introduce a pretty girl that looks to be a few years older than the boys. The boys’ response to this girl is really cute. They are asked what they like about her. Then, they are asked to caress her, which you can tell is somewhat awkward for both the boy and the girl. Then, they are asked to make a funny face at her. Then, they are asked to slap her… You have to watch the video to see what happens.
The video does a great job capturing the both the boys’ and girl’s reactions. The request to “slap her” is met with shock, confusion, and sadness. The fact that none of the boys could bring themselves to slap her begs a few questions…
Will they act the same way when they are older, when the camera is off? Would they have this same reaction to other people, someone who isn’t a pretty girl? I certainly hope they do. However, I have to wonder, amid the firestorm of allegations of sexual harassment and assault recently in Hollywood, media, government and other businesses; Did those men have the same instincts as these little boys when they were this age? If so, what made them change from that to what we see now? What messages were they given that made them think their horrendous behavior was okay? This is exactly why prevention is so important; it reinforces the instincts that these boys appear to have that says it’s wrong to hurt people, pretty girl or anyone else. We need to speak out and challenge behaviors and social norms that say otherwise.