Emma Murphy is a 26-year-old mother of two from Dublin, and a manager at nutritional supplement company Forever Living Products. On Facebook, she often publicly shares recipes and tips, as well as pictures of her young children. But the video she posted on July 6 was on a considerably darker subject. Speaking directly into the camera, with a dark eye and distress in her voice while her toddler son plays in the background, she talks about the domestic violence she says she suffered at the hands of her partner, the father of her children.
In the share text introducing the video post, she writes:
I thought long and hard before posting this video, this is very difficult for me but I have to do what is RIGHT, if you or anyone you know has it is in a similar situation please share this video to inspire other women around the world, violence is NOT the answer!!!!
Murphy, who does not name her alleged abuser, says in the video that she shared it to raise awareness about domestic violence and to let other women know they ought to leave abusive relationships. She ends by asking viewers to share the video with victims of violence.
Her plea didn’t go unheeded: in just over 24 hours, her video was watched over 4.5 million times, and shared more than 80,000 times. Perhaps the most prominent sharer was Facebook Newswire, a community managed by Facebook itself to promote viral news content.
We have no way of verifying the authenticity of Murphy’s video or the truthfulness of her words, and have reached out to Facebook to inquire what kind of vetting it may have done itself. (We will update this post as warranted.) Either way, it’s hard not to be struck by the overwhelming volume of users who have commented on the video (12,000 and counting on Facebook, and still more on Twitter, with the hashtag #EmmaMurphy). Amongst them are both men and women who are bravely sharing their experiences with domestic violence, either as victims or witnesses of it, and offering support to Murphy in a rare, virtually troll-free display of online empathy.