More than 20,000 women and children were physically and sexually abused between 2010-2012, a national human rights commissioner said yesterday.
Visa: Believes abuse figures are distorted
Visa Benjamano said she had obtained the figures from the Public Health Ministry on victims of sexual and physical abuse who had sought medical help and rehabilitation.
"Based on the figures we have obtained we are certain even more women and children are likely to have been physically and sexually abused," Ms Visa said.
"Many victims are still too shy to lodge complaints with police against offenders and the police themselves do not enforce laws strictly."
She said the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had received complaints from women who claimed they had been abused by their male bosses and colleagues at their offices.
Ms Visa said the NHRC has campaigned against the abuse of women and children.
The agency is also working with the Royal Thai Police to organise forums nationwide to discuss solutions to the problem.
Police have assigned more women investigators to handle these cases which are sensitive in nature, she said.
Ms Visa was speaking yesterday at a seminar titled "Sexual harassment at the office _ the problem remains to be solved." The seminar was organised by the NHRC and the Women and Men Progressive Movement Foundation, and was attended by women's rights activists, human rights defenders and government officials.
A female victim who asked not to be named said her boss, a local government official in Nakhon Pathom, physically assaulted her at her office when she asked him to help clarify irregularities she found in their annual budget.
When she went to police with her complaint they refused to register it, as they regarded it as a petty offence, she said. She then asked the NHRC to file a criminal suit against her boss.
The victim said she wanted other women who were abused by their male bosses and colleagues to take legal action.
"I must fight to protect my basic human rights so an offender will not dare to do it again," she said.
Chantima Thanasawangkul, a prosecutor at the Office of the Attorney-General, said police should treat more seriously complaints filed by abuse victims, and not hastily label them as as merely petty offences.
Supensri Pungkoksoong, of the Women and Men Progressive Movement Foundation, urged victims to come out and fight for justice.
She said some bosses are reluctant to go to the law when abuse cases emerge as they are worried their companies' reputation will suffer if the matter goes public.
About the author
- Writer: Patsara Jikkham