‘Faulty’ Vending Machine Reveals The Slippery Slope Towards Domestic Abuse

‘Faulty’ Vending Machine Reveals The Slippery Slope Towards Domestic Abuse

The 'Helpless Machine' aims to generate awareness of domestic violence in Russia.

Leah Gonzalez
  • 9 april 2014

Agency Hungry Boys worked with social organization Who Cares?! to create the “Helpless Machine,” a faulty vending machine designed to raise awareness of domestic violence in Russia.

The machine has built-in display and vibration sensors and a screen featuring a smiling woman. The machine sells snacks and soda, and when someone buys something from the machine, it gets jammed on purpose. When male users hit the machine in frustration, the woman on the screen starts crying and becomes distressed as if she was being abused in real life. The machine eventually releases the jammed item after being hit several times, but not before the crying woman on the display has drawn attention from others nearby.


According to the campaign, around 10,000 women in Russia die as a result of domestic abuse. The machine was launched to raise more awareness for this serious issue.

Alexander Stefanets, the project creator from Hungry Boys, said,

We want to draw attention to a problem that is hidden behind closed doors. We want to show how easy it is to ruffle a man’s feathers. If he permits himself to become aggressive in public because of some ‘trifles’ we can only begin to imagine what might happen within his own home. The Helpless Machine is an effective and hard-hitting way of getting this message across not only in Russian but across the globe.

Who Cares?! curator Dimitry Tikhonov adds,

Domestic violence is a silent problem. It is important to create an environment in which an open discussion surrounding aggression within a family can take place. Hungry Boys has conceived a highly creative and impactful approach to raising awareness about this unacceptable and distressing problem.

The Helpless Machine was installed at Afimall City, one of the largest shopping malls in Moscow.


Watch the video of the project below.

Hungry Boys


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