After Saturday’s rally featuring the Bad Student group, some members have also began highlighting the patriarchal society of Thailand where obedience and submission runs rampant in educational institutions.
20 year old Nalinrat Tuthubthim bravely demonstrated the need for an open dialogue as she adorned an old school uniform while taping her mouth and holding a sign.
“A teacher sexually assaulted me. The school is not a safe space.”
Sexual harassment figures from the Office of Basic Education Commission are circulating online, showing hundreds of sexual harassment incidents recorded between 2013 – 2017. Thee Phawangkhanan from OBEC says that in January 2020 alone, there were over 700 cases of sexual harassment, adding that many other victims remain too scared to come forward.
Conservative Thais, such as Palang Pracharat MP Pareena Kraikupt, threatened to sue her for dishonouring the school and its uniform because she is no longer a student. And even further pointed out the embarrassment the student was allegedly causing to the country.
Such a deflection of the issue also comes with pointing fingers towards the victim as some Thais question why she didnt report the alleged incident when it happened, and instead, waited 5 years to display a banner at a rally? The shift in blame is all too common as the “patriarchy” would say it’s her fault by pointing out her clothing or by simply saying she deserves it.
The social hierarchy has long been accused of being corrupt, exploitative and abusive, in which the “poo-yai” superior has complete power over the “poo-noi” inferior. Even questioning a superior is against societal norms. There are no checks and balances on those in power. Nalinrat says it is this type of culture that created fear over reporting sexual abuse, along with her lack of understanding it due to her young age.
In an article for Thisrupt.co, she discussed her psychological trauma and disorder that resulted from the incident, as she has taken to campaigning about sexual abuse in the past 2 years. She says that men make the rules in Thai society and that there is a cultural mindset in which society blames the victim.
Nalinrat says she was met with a wall of denial when she did speak up and was demanded to be silent, finding herself joining the countless other women and children whose stories were ignored. When her story became public, she was met with victim-blaming, just as so many other women and children have suffered, while the abuser is not apprehended.
But thanks to others boldly bringing the issue to light, other groups such as Bad Medical Student are gaining momentum as they bring such allegations ranging from sexual harrassment, abusive workloads, verbal and emotional abuse, gender discrimination and many more, to light. The group, who took their name after the Bad Student group, is now taking to Twitter to voice what they say is a medical institution environment that is abusive. One Twitter user posted a message that says she was discriminated against because she was a woman.
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