The Thai Government Suggested 'Sexy' Clothes Lead to Harassment. The Country's Women Disagree
In the annual lead-up to Thailandâs water-soaked new year festivities, Bangkok officials habitually roll out an admonition: In order to avoid sexual harassment, women must watch how they dress. But this yearâs warning, issued in the wake of the #MeToo movement, has triggered a monumental backlash on social media.
Women are sharing stories of sexual misconduct experienced during the boisterous three-day holiday called Songkran, while taking umbrage at the suggestion that their clothing, and not the perpetrator, is to blame for the harassment or assault.
To shift the focus back onto menâs behavior, Cindy Sirinya Bishop, a Thai-American celebrity and host of Asiaâs Next Top Model, launched a now-viral campaign #DontTellMeHowToDress.
âWomen have the right to dress however we choos e, as long as itâs not illegal,â she wrote in an Instagram post that has now been viewed more than 100,000 times. âSexual assault and harassment is never the womanâs fault! Tell men to keep their hands to themselves!â
Plenty of social media users quickly chimed in to agree. The hashtag campaign has already reportedly generated more of a buzz in Thailand than #MeToo did.
âMaybe the reason this is taking off faster is because theyâre not coming out and accusing anyone,â Bishop told Bloomberg. âOur society is quite conservative, and for someone to come out and point a finger at someone whoâs assaulted her is huge, I donât know if weâre ready for it yet.â
Thailandâs annual Songkran celebration and its tradition of using water to cleanse away misfortune has evolved into wha t has been dubbed the âworldâs biggest water fight,â drawing huge crowds of locals and tourists alike.
In a recent survey of 1,650 women, nearly 60% of respondents said they had been groped during Songkran, and only a small number reported the incidents to police, according to Bangkok-based nonprofit Women and Men Progressive Movement Foundation.Source: Google News Thailand | Netizen 24 Thailand