After a recent survey found out that one in five Thai women experience sexual abuse, Thailand will come up with measures that will encourage women victims to report the crime with the promise of protection.
“The Prime Minister stressed that disciplinary measures will be taken (against the abusers), and those who file a complaint are protected”, said Minister of Social Development and Public Security JutiKrairerk, has announced on Tuesday, April 21.
The government aims not only to protect victims of sexual harassment but also of the unfair dismissals that result from it.
The government offered few details about how it would implement the measures to fight this scourge. However, it has committed in creating a walk-in center in Bangkok where the general public can report sexual violence.
Nearly 90% of rape cases in Thailand go unreported, according to the United Nations and local media often carry stories detailing graphic attacks on women.
The global #MeToo movement which is encouraging women from the United States to India to speak up against sexual violence appears to have little effect in Thailand, despite local efforts to force progress.
But rights groups said Tuesday’s move could encourage more women to come forward.
“There have been few complaints in the past because the victims are afraid of their harassers who are usually their bosses,” said Usa Lerdsrisuntad, director of Thailand’s Foundation for Women programme.
“We need to ensure that they are protected and will not be laid off or prevented from being promoted.”
Thailand’s labour law includes offences related to sexual assault but the country has not ratified an International Labor Organization (ILO) treaty which offers protection for informal workers.
“If you’re a domestic worker, for instance, and you are raped inside your employer’s house, it will be very difficult to leave the house to report the case to the police,” said Angkhana Neelapaijit, a former human rights commissioner on gender equality and women’s rights.
She questioned whether cases investigated by agencies would make it to court and said the government should introduce measures to prevent sexual harassment in the private sector. (Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation)