Sex attacks too common
It is not overly dramatic to say that not a single day goes by without reports of sexual violence -- from bouts of domestic violence and date rape to homicides committed against women and even young girls.
Late last month, a 12-year-old student at a state boarding school in Phatthalung was allegedly sexually assaulted by a senior student, a 14-year-old boy who had a previous record of sexual assault. A few of her friends helped keep guard to make sure the boy had his way.
In another case reported on Tuesday, a wife was killed by her jealous husband, once again in Phatthalung province.
Enraged by jealousy, and upset because his wife spent too much time preparing food, he shot her in the head, with his young son as the witness. The accused, identified as Theerapong, turned himself in to the police later.
These violations merely scratch the surface of the violence that women in Thailand and around the world must endure.
A study unveiled by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) paints a grim picture of sex crimes.
The report was released on Nov 25 to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and International Human Rights Day on Dec 10. According to the report, 81,100 women and girls were killed across the world last year; 50% of them by their intimate partners or other family members.
The number of femicides reported was 18,100 -- 17,800 cases took place in Asian countries and 300 took place in the Asia-Pacific region.
According to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO) last year, across their lifetime, one in three women, about 736 million, are subjected to physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner or sexual violence from a non-partner.
The question is what the driving forces are behind these acts of violence. Many studies show people's attitudes play a major part.
A poll by the National Institute of Development Administration (Nida) suggests men's lack of respect for women is the leading cause of sexual violence in Thai society.
And almost half of Thais think scanty clothing and flirting are the leading causes.
Some 64.6% of respondents believe that men's lack of respect for women is a cause of sexual violence yet 50% of respondents believe men committed aggression because they lack understanding of whether the woman has given consent. It is shocking that 47.5% believe that women wearing revealing clothes and flirting are causing these acts of violence.
Interestingly enough, when asked who was the culprit in the following scenario of sexual violence, 2.14% of respondents believe it is not entirely the fault of a male student who tries to rape a female student if she has shown that she likes him, while 8.7% of respondents said a husband forcing his wife to be a sex worker if she has no money or jobless is not a form of sexual violence.
These figures might be just part of the bigger picture yet they speak volumes about the medieval and male chauvinistic attitude that flourishes in today's society.
The whole of society -- not only the government or schools but individuals and families alike -- have a lot of work to do in fostering the right attitudes.
Bangkok Post editorial column
These editorials represent Bangkok Post thoughts about current issues and situations.
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