An anti-domestic violence internet video game has been panned by critics who claim the effect is opposite to what was intended, with many believing that it encourages abuse rather than condemning it.
Viewers of hitthebitch.dk are invited to play an online video game in which they are the companion of a woman who has been out on the town for the evening. As the woman speaks of her enjoyment at the evening, including dancing with a man at a nightclub, her ‘partner’ can use an on screen hand to slap her.
The game also includes an LED screen which records the level of violence directed towards the woman, with ratings ranging from ‘pussy’ to ‘gangsta’. Repeated strikes by the user bring about bruising to the woman and ultimately, when she has suffered enough violence in reaching the ‘gangsta’ level she falls to the ground crying. The screen then flashes the message ‘100% IDIOT’.
The video has been defended by creators The NGO for Children exposed to Violence at Home who claim that young men were being targeted by more aggressive means. “We have to speak the young people’s language,” said Kirsten R. Hermandsen, the NGO’s spokeswoman. “The most important thing for us is that the young men who visit the website talk to their friends about it and spread the word.”
However, the campaign has met with strong criticism within Denmark and from abroad, with many saying the video will merely encourage young men to hit their partners. The Huffington Post, a liberal American news site, condemned the advertisement. ”This seems like the end result of some people sitting around a table trying to figure out how to make domestic violence edgy and attention-grabbing,” it stated. “Are we really so inured to the standard imagery of wide-eyed kids cowering in the background or the bruised faces of women?” The Post posed the question: “What were those behind the advert thinking?”