News / Asia

Efforts to Turn Back Rising Rates of Violence Against Women in Thailand

Ron Corben
In Thailand, official statistics indicate rates of domestic violence are increasing despite a 2007 law designed to protect victims. Many women remain reluctant to seek assistance because they are unaware of protections available to them.

Researchers at Thailand's Mahidol University National Institute of Child and Family Development said their annual survey indicated nearly one third of households last year reported instances of domestic violence.

One victim, Suphakorn, who only wanted to give her first name, turned to the Women and Men Progressive Movement Foundation for help after she tried to break up with her boyfriend and he became violent.

Suphakorn said she was frightened when he threatened her with a gun at her office, demanding she go back home with him. She said she begged for her life as he later assaulted her at home, bashing her head against a wall and attempting to stab her.

While such stories are common, the foundation's director, Jaded Chouwilai, said many women in similar situations remained silent in the face of abuse, unaware of places they could turn for help.

"When [women] have the problem in the family - domestic violence - most women cannot talk [about it]. They have a child , they are afraid and [do] not [have] the information; most women don't have the law, the information to help them," said Jaded.

In 2007, Thailand passed the Protection of Victims of Domestic Violence Act, which provides immediate services for victims, creates protective orders and streamlines court procedures for domestic violence cases. The Health Ministry also created the emergency One Stop Crisis Centre (OSCC), where up to 23,000 cases of victims of abuse cases are being reported annually - up from 11,500 in 2005.

That outreach has helped to inform victims about support networks available to them, but researchers said addressing the root causes of the problem required changing attitudes in men.

A United Nations report on men and domestic violence across Asia, released in September, found some 25 percent of those surveyed admitted to sexual assault against a woman or girl.

The report's co-author, James Lang, from the violence prevention group, Partners for Prevention, said the studies highlighted the role played by gender inequalities and traditional values that celebrate male dominance.

"What is allowing for men's violence to continue is these ways that we are taught to be men - that are associated with dominance over women - like the idea that we as men are entitled to control women and their bodies - men viewing sexuality and their entitlement to women as sexual objects," he said.

The U.N. study showed domestic violence affected all socio-economic groups. The U.N. indicated violence may rise among men who have less power compared to other men, or face stresses due to substance abuse and poverty.

In Bangkok's slum community Klong Toey, Catholic Priest, Father Joe Maier, who has worked among the poor for several decades, said poverty aggravated the issues of domestic violence, especially when children were involved.

"It's the 'violence' of abandoned children and the women can't take care of their own children. They've got to give up their kids, they can't settle down and just be a mum. He doesn't give them money, he runs around, he gambles. The men use the money to play - the women use their money to take care of the children," he said.

Since the Thai government has improved outreach for female victims of domestic violence, advocates said it now needed to turn its attention toward changing attitudes of men. U.N. researchers said such an effort would start with elevating the status of women and creating “new models” of manhood based more on equality and respect.

You May Like

Multimedia Brussels Schools, Metro Reopen Under Heavy Guard

City remains under the highest threat alert level due to what authorities have described as a 'serious and imminent' threat of attack

Video Debt-ridden Refugees Await Onslaught of Lebanese Winter

Aid agencies are attempting to reduce potentially devastating consequences of freezing conditions and snowstorms that killed eight last year, including three Syrian refugees

Americans Think About Strange Stuff at Thanksgiving

Millions of Americans are celebrating Thanksgiving, but they’re not necessarily thinking about turkey and stuffing

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs