Drunkenness does not equal consent

Drunkenness does not equal consent

A couple weeks ago, there was a viral photo which showed four guys taking an unconscious drunk girl into an apartment. The person who posted the photo from CCTV was an older brother of the girl. He asked for justice for his sister and said his 18-year-old sister was raped by four guys who claimed that they just took her to the residence with no harm.

Several news outlets reported that the girl went out to drink with her friends and was later joined by a guy named Tle, who invited her to another place to drink with him and his three friends. After she was drunk, she was taken to her apartment. Much evidence supports that she was raped by the four guys. The girl also said that despite being drunk, she remembered that she was raped.

An interview with the brother about the case led to a debate on webboard Pantip.com. In order to respond to comments on social media, which blamed his sister for wearing revealing clothes, the brother told reporters that his sister may have poor judgement (by drinking with strangers), but regardless of outfit choices, the guys had no right to rape her.

A person who posted a thread on Pantip said he believed the rapists were guilty and deserved punishment, but disagreed with the brother's statement. He said the girl shouldn't put herself in any risky situations by wearing sexy clothes and should be aware whenever she hangs out with strangers.

Some people who supported the thread's owner blamed the girl and said good girls neither drink late at night nor drink with strangers. They accused girls who did that as sluts. There were people who believed that dressing sexy was what got the girl raped because, they said, she asked for it. One commenter believed girls who dress modestly will be safer than if they dress revealingly.

I disagree with those comments. I think being a good or bad girl isn't based on drinking behaviour. Alcoholism causes many problems, but lots of people are social drinkers. Going out for a drink or drinking late at night doesn't turn anyone into sluts. It was also a surprise to see lots of victim-blaming on revealing clothes. Many statistics on rape found victims don't necessarily wear sexy outfits. Last year, there was an exhibition for #DontTellMeHowToDress, a campaign run by supermodel Sirinya "Cindy" Bishop. The exhibition displayed clothes from survivors of sexual assaults. There were victims who wore a school uniform, a corporate uniform and a T-shirt and jeans, which proved that the victims dressed normally but still experienced sexual assault because guys didn't control their sexual desires. People who agreed with the brother believe it doesn't matter how the girl dresses; others have no right to violate her. I agree with them. The girl has the right to choose her outfit and the guys have no right to take advantage while she was drunk and didn't give them any consent to sexual acts.

The girl was in trouble because she trusted Tle, who she'd met via social media. She thought he liked her and probably thought he wanted to introduce her to his friends. She wasn't aware that he would let his friends have sex with her. She shouldn't be blamed for being raped. However, girls shouldn't totally trust their dates, especially if they are strangers.

Thai females have been taught what we should or shouldn't do to keep ourselves safe. For instance, we should dress modestly. And we shouldn't go to "inappropriate places" such as nightclubs or bars. People focus on teaching women how to behave, but don't teach men how to control their sexual desires. Women have been urged to be alert and aware for their own safety while most people (both men and women) don't try to change attitudes to make society better and safer.

From the comments on social media and Pantip about this case, many guys thought the girl deserved to be raped because she let herself get drunk. For these guys, being drunk is like giving sexual consent. Boys and men should be educated on how to respect girls and women, and control their sex drives. If the girl had gone out with a guy who'd been taught to respect a woman even though she's drunk, she would have remained safe.

Suwitcha Chaiyong is a feature writer for the Life section of the Bangkok Post.

Suwitcha Chaiyong

Feature writer for the Life section

Suwitcha Chaiyong is a feature writer for the Life section of the Bangkok Post.

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