Abuse claims spur calls for ethics code

Abuse claims spur calls for ethics code

Pressure is mounting on the government to come up with a clear-cut code of ethics governing the sexual conduct of politicians following a series of sexual harassment allegations against several Move Forward Party (MFP) members.

The call was made during a seminar hosted by the Women and Men Progressive Movement Foundation on Wednesday. The seminar was organised in the wake of sexual harassment allegations against MFP politicians and members -- one of whom was expelled by the party yesterday over sexual harassment claims.

According to director Jadet Chaowilai, sexual harassment could take place in any social or professional setting, noting the problem is compounded by the patriarchal mindset which is prevalent in Thai society.

"Purging the offender from the party won't stop the problem," he said before calling for a more effective reporting mechanism for victims and better enforcement of existing laws against sexual abuse.

Equally important is the provision of timely remedy for the victims and others who may be affected by the harassment, he said.

"However, these calls seem to have fallen on deaf ears," he said.

Waraporn Chaemsanit, a planning consultant for women's wellness and gender equality at the Sexuality Education Association, said while most people sympathise with sexual harassment victims, there are also those who blame the victims for not doing enough to prevent the assault from happening.

As a result, she said, some victims are reluctant to come forward.

"Sexual assault shouldn't be kept a secret, as concealing the case from the public might do more harm than good," she said.

Ms Waraporn said the increasing number of sexual assault complaints shows people are becoming more aware of their rights over their bodies.

She also suggested comprehensive sexual education be taught in schools, saying it would teach younger generations about the need to respect people's boundaries.

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