The bystanders who could have stopped him did nothing.
Trigger Warning: Story includes details of domestic abuse and violence.
Horrifying footage that surfaced on the internet on Sunday, November 1, 2020, has left all those who witnessed it in a state of shock. In the video, a man can be seen brutally beating his wife in the middle of the street in broad daylight, while the people walking by did nothing. They merely stood and witnessed the horrendous crime. The Sun reported that the emergence of the video has raised questions among people about the prevalence of domestic abuse against women across the globe.
Local newspaper What's On Weibo reported that the tragic incident took place on October 31, 2020, in Shuozhou, Shanxi province around 10 a.m. The man who was riding an electric car tried to flee the scene after hitting another vehicle. However, he was held back by his wife, and this outraged him.
What started as an argument between the couple quickly turned violent when the husband pushed his wife to the ground and started attacking her with a brick. In the clip, the man was caught attacking the helpless woman on the head with a wooden stool while a few people observed it without intervening.
He then moves on to hurt her with a pitchfork. Other local newspapers also reported that since the violent incident was taking place in a busy street, there were people all around but no one wanted to intervene until the police arrived. The woman, unfortunately, succumbed to her injuries.
By Sunday, November 1, the video of the disturbing incident went viral on Chinese social media, reported The Straits Times. The footage showed that cyclists, motorists, and pedestrians, including children, were all watching the gruesome murder, but none dared to step in to help the victim. Media posts of the incident were shared by thousands of people attracting comments criticizing the unbothered actions of the bystanders and the attitude towards domestic violence.
Shanxi, yesterday - at least 4 people stand around as this man beats his wife. Nobody steps in to stop this 'marital conflict.' This is how it starts, but it ends up with the woman being stabbed & killed by her husband.— Manya Koetse (@manyapan) November 1, 2020
Many people looked on and filmed, yet nobody stopped him. pic.twitter.com/mzYRfJ6e2l
Many commented on it. One said, "He's not holding a machine gun, why did no one step forward to control him?" Another one said, "Terrible !!! Where did humanity go? Group of people should have gone and stopped him." One also pointed out that they should've helped the lady instead of taking videos. The commenter wrote, "Why are people not doing anything, they are just standing and looking at that women. This is so wrong. Instead of taking videos, they should've helped that woman from that monster."
The Shanghaiist reported that the people are scared of getting sued as there have been incidents where scammers orchestrate scenarios that require intervention and then sued or blackmailed the people who tried to help.
What's On Weibo also pointed out that the social-psychological theory called the bystander effect stops people from helping those in need. According to this theory, the onus of responsibility is diluted, as with more people around, they tend to think someone else will intervene. And if no one does, they believe it's not their fault.
Another factor played into motion as well. People usually tend to stay away from domestic issues that play out in public, especially in Asian countries, as the society is conditioned to believe it's a private matter no matter how out of line it may be. However, that doesn't stop them from being spectators to it.
I doubt this is bystander effect. There are not many bystanders, so little diffusion of responsibility. That said, even the bystander effect is under scrutiny the last years and may be a myth. Bystanders non reaction in a case like this is very improbable in civilised societies.— Uncle Water 水叔 (@unclewater09) November 1, 2020
Even though the Chinese government put the Good Samaritan law that protects those who voluntarily help the victims who are or are believed to be injured and in danger with the assurance that they won't be held responsible for the situation later, looks like not much has changed.
Social media users said that this could be because sometimes the ones who try to intervene become liable for hospital costs and other things.
The Straits Times revealed that before China criminalized domestic violence in 2015 by introducing a specific law, according to the government-run All-China Women's Federation estimated that every one in four Chinese women endured domestic abuse in her life. Authorities register 40,000 to 50,000 complaints a year.
China's First Anti-Domestic Abuse Law Is Already Bringing Victims Forward https://t.co/6LOI2e8eG5— BuzzFeed World (@BuzzFeedWorld) March 3, 2016
Thankfully, the police informed the media that they have taken the ruthless man into custody. They said, "The suspect is in the custody...and the case is being fully investigated."