Rape Culture in Thailand

Rape Culture defines the ways in which sexual violence is trivialized and normalized. It involves victims being blamed, shamed and encouraged to hide their abuse. It can be present in media and institutions as well as general societal practices. Rape culture is certainly not exclusive to Thailand; it happens everywhere. This post discusses the presence of rape culture in Thailand alone. For more definition, see here and here.

I was recently teaching a class of four people, two men and two women. During that class, one of the male students made a joke about me to a female member of staff. I didn’t hear it, so she repeated it to me.

“He said that if you don’t pass him for this class, he will rape you”. 

I responded with “I dont understand”.

“Rape. He will rape you”. She reiterated with a giggle.

“I understand the words, I just don’t understand the joke”.

She immediately realised that I was offended and came to me several times later on to apologise. The man who’d said it never did, although I have no idea if he knew that his joke was inappropriate. His girlfriend was actually one of the other students in that class, so I can’t imagine he would have cared much if he had. Completely confused and shocked, I spoke to a handful of my Thai coworkers about the incident and thankfully, their reaction was the same as mine. My boss called me in for a chat upon hearing about it, in which she apologised and promised to have a meeting with the guy who made the ‘joke’. You’re probably wondering how anyone could consider such a remark to be funny. The truth is that this wasn’t just a case of one person making an offensive comment. Rape is normalized in Thailand in many ways and in this post, I’d like to try and go some way towards explaining problem from my point of view.

In Thai, there are two words for rape. One is ‘bplum’ (ปล้ำ), which is also used for ‘wrestling’ (‘muay bplum’ is clinching) and forced sex. The other is ‘khom kheuun’ (ข่มขืน). while both of these words mean ‘rape’ to us, that’s not the case in Thai language. It sounds completely ridiculous to say that there could be two types of rape, with one more serious than the other, but that’s exactly the case here. For us, rape is rape. There is either consent or an absence of it. In Thailand, it’s not as clear as that.

Khom kheuun is what Thais would use to describe rape as a criminal act (although isn’t it always?) Bplum, however, is much more complicated. Bplum starts as forceful and violent, but can sometimes end with the establishment of a relationship. This is commonly shown in Thai soap operas or ‘lakorn’. Sometimes a relationship comes only because the female character is now under some kind of ownership, having been raped by the male. It can also come because the male feels guilty for what he’s done and wants to take care of her as a way of perhaps making up for it and taking responsibility for his actions. Other times, there are cases where there may already be an attraction between the two characters, but cultural gender norms would make it unacceptable for the female to make a move, so the leading male character forces her into sex, after which they begin their relationship. Most ‘bplum’ scenes seem to show ‘good girl’ or a ‘bad girl’. If she’s good, he’s forcefully showing his love for her; if she’s bad, he’s punishing her. In both types, the blame falls on the victim rather than the perpetrator, as it’s implied that she somehow deserved it. It’s all very complex, so the best way for me to explain would be to show some examples of such scenes. The scene below, from ‘Game Rai Game Ruk เกมส์ร้ายเกมส์รัก’, shows ‘bplum’ between two characters. The man can be seen grabbing and forcefully kissing the woman while she shouts and hits him. Seconds later, it switches to a romantic scene of them standing by lake, lovingly embracing, before switching back to the original scene, where she has stopped struggling and perhaps given in to his advances.

This clip from ‘Sawan Bieng สวรรค์เบี่ยง’ is much more violent, with the victim confronting her attacker the morning after.

In this scene from’ Saneha Sanyakhaaen เสน่หาสัญญาแค้น’, while the male is attempting to rape her, he realises that she is crying and stops to ask her why. He then suddenly realises what he’s doing (as if the fact that she had resisted, slapped him, and had to be dragged into the room beforehand wasn’t enough), becomes upset and leaves the room.

Scenes like these are incredibly easy to find on Youtube because they’re shown so frequently. A detailed article on rape culture from Coconuts Bangkok said that “..rape remains coded in the DNA of Thai drama, as no television series is complete without sexual violence against a female character. Generations of young women have grown up watching their media role models and heroines succumb to sexual violence”. In fact, a 2014 study found that more than 80% of Thai soap operas broadcast year-round contained scenes of rape or gender-based violence. The article, which can be read in full here, says that rather than depicting a violent crime and a violation of one’s rights, lakorn perpetuates the belief that rape is normal. It is often shown as a form of revenge or punishment. In some stories, the rapist even works with a hotel employee to deceive the victim into going there to be raped. With scenes like these being so frequent in Thai soap operas, it’s little wonder that many people think such incidents are normal parts of relationships. A study on university students, ‘Date Rape Perceptions by Thai University Students‘ by Nanthaphan Chinlumprasert, revealed some horrifying attitudes towards date rape. See the image below:

rapeculture

 

“I would call this situation as consent to be raped”

Forced sex within relationships and acquaintance rape is largely normalised, and that is only part of the problem. This advertisement for a soap opera episode,  which gives an in-depth description of how a male character rapes his stepdaughter as well as pictures of the scene, is particularly disturbing. The article is in Thai, but I’ve roughly translated to the following (apologies for any mistakes!):

“While Mot is asleep, her stepfather, X, tiptoes into the room and lustfully gazes at her. He’s unable to stop his hands from stroking her thigh and then attempting to rape her. This scene will thrill you! Mot must use strength and power to fight X, whose body is soaked in sweat and mouth is almost overflowing with saliva as he stares at her. Mot is terrified to have been woken by X and pushes him away. He throws himself at her, using all his power to wrestle with her, but she fights back and kicks him, which causes her skirt to fall down. X won’t give up. He straddles her and yanks her shirt off of her. The sight of Mot’s white flesh gives him an erection. She is still fighting him, so he strangles her until she begins to cry. Don’t miss tonight’s episode on Channel 8!”

The advertisement is worrying in itself, but sadly, incidents like these aren’t just confined to TV. They are happening to real people and those people are often blamed rather than supported. Thai authorities blamed the rape of a British girl in Pai, North Thailand, on the fact that she was drunk and that the bar she had been drinking at had been open too late. The victim later spoke out, and her side of the story was eerily similar to some of those shown in lakorn scenes, where the attacker forces himself on her, realises his ‘mistake’, apologises and then tries to take care of her. In this case, by driving her home.

She said that her attacker offered her a lift home but then drove her to a wooded area and raped her. “I was afraid for my life,” she said. “He lay on top of me then and began crying and telling me how much he loved me, how he wanted to marry me and that he was sorry. He took a ring I had on my finger and put it on his hand.”

She said the man became remorseful and drove her back to another guesthouse where she sought help. She was taken to hospital but there was no doctor on duty. The police called a doctor at home but he said that he was asleep and that it was not an emergency and so the officers took her back to her guesthouse.

The woman was finally taken back to the hospital the next afternoon but was initially told she would have to pay $100 (£65) for a rape test before police reluctantly agreed to cover the costs.

– The Telegraph, 5/11/2015

The 2014 rape and murder of a 13-year old girl on a train shook the nation and sparked debate over harsher punishments for rapists. It also gave voice to a victim who had been raped in a similar case more than 10 years prior, but had felt forced to leave Thailand after being stigmatized and fired by her employer as a result of the media attention surrounding her case. See this article by Keawmala of Thai Woman Talks for more details on both cases.

Another brilliant article from Kaewmala give details of a 2012 case where a foreign woman was raped by a man in Krabi. The father of the victim produced a video criticising the Thai police for allowing the suspect to be released on bail even after turning himself in and confessing. The police responded with their own video, which was full of victim blaming and damaged their reputation even further (the victim had been pictured with the man and had dinner with him, so it couldn’t have been rape). Many Thais hit back, which showed the differing attitudes between the public and the authorities. Kaewmala explains:

“Ours is a society that is both new and old, and therefore can be challenging to navigate, with cultural land mines like this. We are a society in transition, with changes happening rapidly in some areas and very slowly in others. The overwhelmingly negative feedback from new generation of Thais to the police’s reaction exemplifies the ongoing clashes between the old and the new side of Thailand. Eventually the new generation will win, but changing attitudes will take time.”

– Thai Woman Talks, 13/11/2012

These are only the high-profile cases. As we know, rape goes largely unreported on the whole, and in a country where attitudes towards rape are even further behind than many, only a tiny percentage of cases will come to light. The controversial subject of whether or not members of the public should intervene when seeing a couple fighting, even when violence is involved, has been raised with me by lots of my students and co-workers recently. The matter has been brought to their attention by a social media experiment video, which shows a man physically and verbally abusing a female in a Bangkok public park full of people to see how they react. Most students said that Thais generally believe that if a couple are fighting, it’s their businesses and we should let them get on with it. One said ‘they’ll fight and then make up and love each other again, so it’s OK‘, although many didn’t agree with this themselves. Another told me that her friend had been attacked by a man who tried to snatch her bag in Chinatown and when she refused to give up the bag, he punched her. She cried to a security guard for help, but the attacker assured him by saying ‘she’s my wife‘ and even though she insisted that she wasn’t, he didn’t do anything to help her.

In a famous case, Sek Loso, a Thai rockstar, was filmed slapping his wife outside their home in 2014 and the video went viral. She later posted pictures of her bruised and swollen face on Facebook and he subsequently filed a lawsuit against her for 2.5 million baht in damages, claiming that she was trying to ruin his reputation and get his concerts cancelled. This sounds ridiculous, but Thailand’s defamation laws coupled with ignorance of women’s issues mean that cases like this can happen.

The stories provided here are just some examples of the issues surrounding gender-based violence in Thailand. A recent article from the Harvard National Review, ‘The Privileged Lie of Gender Equality in Thailand‘, gave further insight on the issue, stating that a Google search for ‘ข่มขืน’ (khom kheuun, the most serious Thai word for rape) shows mostly links for rape porn rather than news or support sites, something I tested and found to be true (the image search was even more disturbing, showing the dead bodies of real victims). The article also talks about the links between gender inequality and class, showing that while Thailand may appear progressive in some ways, with a previous female Prime Minister and more Thai women holding PhDs than many other countries, the reality of female life in Thailand is not entirely rosy.

“The truth is women do not suffer de jure restrictions to mobility, education, and labor force participation. What women in Thailand suffer is a lack of de facto access to power: a cultural disempowerment that is in part a result of sexual imperialism, state policies, and gender-specific socialization.” 

– The Harvard International Review, 30/3/2016

It is clear that rape culture and victim blaming are prevalent in Thailand, both in the media and in the law, but that is not to say that attitudes among the public aren’t changing. A petition to stop normalising rape in Thai soap operas has clocked up almost 60,000 signatures, and while I’ve been left downhearted by the things I’ve written about here, many of the Thai people around me, especially my students and coworkers, have expressed a shared disapproval for the same things. If nothing else, articles like this one from Asian Correspondent, asking when Thai soap operas will stop trivializing rape, show that there are people who recognize these problems and aren’t willing to accept such dehumanizing ideas.

This post ended up getting a huge response from Thai media. To read more about it, see my follow-up post, ‘Going Viral in Thailand – The Response to My Post on Rape Culture‘.

Advertisements

73 thoughts on “Rape Culture in Thailand

    • Without minimizing the problem of rape in America, in what way is it more disturbing than in South Africa, the Congo, India, Sri Lanka, or Thailand as described here?

    • You have clearly never been outside of the US. Just come to Thailand, it will make your slum look like a paradise.

      • @Sukhit I was born and raised in Thailand, US is not all paradise. Thailand can be a lot better than many places. All that we are is the result of what we have though (Tripiṭaka).

  1. I’m sorry about that bad joke made to you. It wasn’t funny to me neither. Well, in Thailand, I don’t watch any lakorn, it’s so boring and overreacting. However, I think that many people watch it and absorb some bad behaviour from the lakorn which is horrible. I also want lakorn makers to be more creative than in the past.

    • Thank you. A lot of people seem to be very bored of lakorn, with the same stories repeating all the time. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why Korean series are so popular here!

      • As a Thai person, the majority of people still watch these stupid lakorn. Moreover, some series have been made to be “suitable” for teenagers. These series depicts how “ideal” school life has to be, along with some toxic behaviors including domestic violence, premature sex, and stuffs. My friend from the U.S. and I watched this lakorn together, and then he wondered whether these behaviors are normal or not. Sadly, it’s normal in Thailand.

  2. Hi,

    I totally understand what you’ve been through. As a Thai feminist I got rape threat and almost got raped. Most of Thai people would keep their mouth shut when men jokes about rape. Thai people like to avoid face-to-face conversation when it comes to someone talks or does inappropriate things. I don’t know why, maybe Thai people are coward, and when someones try to speak up something violent often happen to them. Sometime I wish I look else where and let the whole country burn. The majority are too shallow. They are like old dogs that don’t want to learn new tricks.​ I’m actually fed up with them but I can’t stop caring about the future of the people I love, the people who are close to me. That’s why I can’t quit feminism. That’s why I can’t stop trying to get through these people’s thick skulls.

    • Wow, thank you for your comment. I understand that avoiding confrontation and losing face are huge parts of Thai culture, but when it comes to things like this, we can’t afford to keep quiet. Have you heard of Bangkok Rising? It’s a community of feminists and activists against gender-based violence in BKK. If you haven’t already, you should follow their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/BangkokRising

  3. Some men still don’t know what they did was called rape. They think that it’s fine if you already known each other. Sometimes when a woman say ‘no’ man will do the opposite way because they think that a girl is just act like television show later she will be fine and enjoy it with him. How can this be right? How Thai student study so damn hard everyday but sex educated was so low? Here’s why, It is beacause schools and government take those class away from them, they do whatever they can to hide everything about sexual stuff from this “beautiful cultural” country. Adult think it’s wrong to teach kids about sex, they afraid that kids will behave bad if they know those things to early. Jokes on them, just take a look at the social network and internet these days, ICT keeps shutting down pornography website leaves no choice for people to start think about raping someone. I’m no professional writer. This was just my teenage humble opinion. Yeah sad but true isn’t it?

    • You are absolutely right. Blocking porn websites and making sex a taboo subject only makes things worse. The government are so concerned with keeping up the country’s image that they just hide the real issues instead of solving them. I would be really interested to know what kind of sex education happens in Thai schools. In the UK, the government raised the idea of starting sex education as young as 5 years old (I think I was 10 or 11 when we had it), and A LOT of people were against it. Providing better education can only improve things.

  4. Very well written article , thanks for gather the examples and make a point here that in any label, it is NOT OK. May I share your article? Thank you

  5. I’m so ashamed of my own culture. Man’s dignity? What the heck is that! You’re not even near the word dignified or honoured if you force something onto someone! Even if the girl is drunk you should stop, give her water or something to sober up!

    • It’s not only in Thailand that people think like this. Unfortunately, these ideas exist everywhere. It’s important that we talk about it and hope that people start to listen and realise that it’s not OK.

  6. Good article. I I do hate the attitude that a lot of people still have towards rape here, not just in soap operas but in romance novels too. That being said English romance novels have similar kinds of things but you guys probably have a better rating system than here for who can read/see what. The way i see it “rape” in eroticas are a kink, like rape play and people who actually practice those are adults who have specific guidlines and safety rules about consent and I think that’s a whole different ball game than treating rape as no big deal on free TV or novels with no rating system. I think it also needs to be taught in schools as well, children should be taught to respect each other’s bodies.

  7. I’m Thai And I Don’t Watch Lakorn And Thaidrama things
    I Agree That Many Of People In Thailand Aren’t Creative Enough
    Even Kids
    They Said “Cartoon Is For Retarded” That’s Nonsense lol
    Because They Think That It’s Not Cool Enough To Watch So They Judge By That I Guess

    Some Woman Is Really A Bitch That Nobody Can Deal With Her
    Also Many People In Thailand Is Like A Kid
    I Told A Facts To Them,They’re Like Very Mad When I Told It And Abuse Me By Words

    If World Is A Name Of A Game
    Thailand Would Be Hard As Hell Mode Cause You Can Only Adopted With Them(That Kind Of Ppl)

    You Can Describe Most Of The People In Thailand Using “Blind Believer”,”Brainless”
    Also Don’t Look At Someone Face Because You Can Get Killed By That In Thailand
    Yeah I Knew It’s Nonsense But How Can You Deal With Them

  8. I think also it’s a weak judicial system that still allow pedophiles and rapers walk off scot-free. I agree it’s starting with lack of empowerment in the male dominated system that the victims were basically asking for it by being at certain place on certain time like go clubbing when you already legal age to do so and pick up conversation with strangers. It was made to be believed that it was her fault by being friendly means she already asking for sex.

    So the soap opera tho not helping to empower ladies in Thailand but not a sole cause

  9. I really want to congratulate you for your well-written and comprehensive article. I know a lot of Thai people who are disgusted by this rape culture as much as we are, and the comments above only confirm how this media trend is absurd and dangerous. Unluckily, the lakorn often target an audience that may lack the understanding of gender equality and even basic human rights, but I think Thai activitists can change that by spreading information and forcing a bottom-up change of the system, both in public institutions and in the media.

    Keep up the good work!

    • Thanks so much. The response I’ve had from Thai people on this post has really taken me by surprise. It’s been read 30,000 times in Thailand just today alone, and I’ve spent all morning going through comments. Certainly not what I expected to wake up to! It’s great to see that so many people feel the same way. One Thai friend told me that she thinks one of the main problems with Thai society is that they think they are powerless and unable to change anything, which is why people so rarely speak up about about these things here. Getting conversations going can only be a good thing!

  10. Most Thai don’t understand difference between prank (or joke) and sexual harrassment because this type of lakorn

    For example most recent event some Thai facebook page make fun about boy pulled girl’s bra wing or unlock bra hook and lot of man commend that they did it once when they were kid. Yes, that’s sexual harassment but in their point of view it’s just harmless prank

    Not just lakorn most parent didn’t know how to teach their kid to respect opposite gender

    Thai can change but it’s going to take very long.

    Great blog, btw

    Keep it up 🙂

  11. Firstly, I want to express my gratitude for taking your time to write about this issue in Thailand. I was really happy that someone finally raised this issue up!

    I believe that most of Thai people have negative feelings about this issue. As you can see, they always post negative comments online, saying that the rapists should be sentenced to death penalty. Yet, they turn on the TV, watch soap operas and enjoy raping scenes. Isn’t it ironic?

    • Thanks for your comment. I’m so glad that this post has reached so many people! It is ironic, indeed. It’s such a complex issue, and the feedback I’ve received from so many Thai people since posting this has been really helpful in understanding it all a little bit more.

  12. I agree with you, I hated seeing those rape scenes and then the women would fall in love with the rapist. I wanted to walk up to the director and punch him in the face. So I stopped watching Lakorn for 10 years now. I’m glad someone wrote and article like this. Thank you. I think most directors are males. That needs to change soon. >_<

  13. I am disappointing with the article name rape culture. how do you define the word “culture”?
    For me, I grown up with this kind of drama. I watched it 100 of times but RAPE is not yet general thing to call culture. what I observe is that the effect of the content is not make rape become culture but its effect show in pattern of inequality. for example, some Thai girls tend to not speak up or fight back if guy do something wrong because Thai drama often shows that men are physically more powerful women.

  14. WHY DID YOU used the word “Culture” from the bad behavior of one student.
    Do you think it is fair to all thai people ?
    or you want the thai culture be like you think and show every one what your think is right?
    by the bad behavior of one student.

    • Did you read past the first paragraph? Either you didn’t, or you completely misunderstood the article.

      This post is about so much more than that comment from a student. That comment was just a reflection of the problems I talked about in the rest of the post, if you read it.

      I think you might have misunderstood the meaning of ‘rape culture’ (my fault for not clarifying, I will add it to the beginning of the post). Here is an explanation I used in a previous comment:

      The term ‘rape culture’ can be easily misunderstood. It does not necessarily mean a culture that promotes rape. It refers to an environment where victims are blamed and shamed, where sexual violence is normalized and even joked about. Rape culture exists in the UK and USA as well as Thailand and the rest of the world. Here are some other articles that explain further:

      http://everydayfeminism.com/2014/03/examples-of-rape-culture/

      http://www.buzzfeed.com/ryanhatesthis/what-is-rape-culture#.osz8eEp40

      http://www.wavaw.ca/what-is-rape-culture/

      I am NOT saying that Thai culture = rape culture. Absolutely not.

  15. Hi Emma,
    This was pretty eye opening for me. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone in the martial arts space address these topics as eloquently as you’ve done here. Do you think those soap operas, or media in general, is a symptom of our social problems or are they actually one of the sources?

    • Hi Zess,

      Thanks! It’s hard to pin it down to one of those things, I think it’s both. Media is a reflection of culture and social problems, and we certainly can’t blame all rape on it because it comes down to the individual, but it also perpetuates those problems through influence.

  16. Thank you for writing this article! As an immigration attorney, I see a lot of the rape culture in Central America (where most of my clients come from) but I never knew this existed in Thailand as well. By the way, this article could be very helpful to any Thai women who are seeking asylum on the basis of gender-based violence – so thank you again on their behalf!

  17. I did grow up watching some lakorn, but I always knew that rape was wrong. I think the ones that keep depicting men forcing women into sex, and then happily ever after etc, came up more recently. Up until last December I hadn’t been back to Bangkok in 10 years and it must’ve changed so much. This is awful!

  18. I always hate Thai Lakorn because there are only show how to have a husband and rape only ThaiPBS lakorn that good sorry for broken english

  19. I’ve always been disturbed by Thai medias normalising this rape culture and they even have another form of this in novels, fan-fictions, etc which shows the norm of popular culture here. It seems we might take some generations to re-educate these people but I guess I’m not the only one trying to reform.

  20. I have always been disturbed by Thai medias normalising rape and domestic violence and there are also some sort of novels and fan-fictions that feature these inappropriate acts ,which I think they represent our current social norms and could be even traced further more to hundred years ago.
    It might take some generations to reform and re-edudate but I’m sure more people are becoming aware of the issues.

  21. His speaking is only tip of the iceburg,

    He is a criminal in this context, it’s a threatening/frightening to other.
    He don’t know the thing what he’s done. It’s very rude and humanless.

    Thai Lakorn involvers often accuse their media receivers have a high differentiation that means they can divide what are such a “good” or “bad” thing. But I never agree with this accusing.

    That why these rape scenes remain existing in Thai Lakorn, because it’s increase their rating.

    I hope after this article was shared, Thai media should change their mind and show their potentials to improve rating by other methods.

    It will be terrify, not terrible like nowsaday for every ladies in this land, the land of smile.

    Fight for prevent violence!

  22. I’m a brazilian and also a feminist who lives here in Thailand and I would like to know if I can translate this post to portuguese to share with my friends? People must know that. 😦

  23. First of all I don’t condone rape or anything of the kind, let’s get that out of the way.

    However, a joke is a joke and it’s when you can’t joke about a subject that it becomes dangerous. Clearly he didn’t mean it and yes maybe it’s slightly inappropriate and unfunny, but there’s no reason to get all offended about it (even tho feminists love feeling offended).
    As for the fighting couple, people should stay out of it unless the girl is in serious danger, her getting pushed or slapped isn’t a reason to interfere in private affairs, many times have I seen girls slap a guy in public and you would never even think of getting involved.

    Finally, you seem to be shocked by inequality in a 3rd world country… Really? What did you expect before you got here? Thai culture in general isn’t the most open towards other cultures (the dislike of dark-skin is a great example) and they have their own more conservative ways, which is completely fine.

    I agree the whole rape thing goes too far but you’re blowing it way out of proportions, the amount of violence used by foreigners on thai girls is a lot more shocking and disturbing than this. Let’s not forget that western countries like Sweden have way bigger problems with regards to rape, let’s not act like Thailand is in such a bad state.

    • Well, it was only a matter of time until I got a comment like this. Congratulations, you’re the first.

      It’s quite amazing that of all the things written here, the fact that people found a rape joke to be inappropriate is what you find to be dangerous. Personally, I find the Prime Minister publicly blaming a young woman for her own rape and murder to be much more dangerous than that.

      Also, when evidence, statistics and Thai points of view have been given here, you still think I’m just a foreigner blowing the problem out of proportion? That’s just not the case, and the many Thai people who’ve contacted me to thank me for this post would disagree, too. If you were faced with a victim of sexual violence, do you think it would suffice to tell them ‘there are worse problems elsewhere in the world, this isn’t that bad’?

      Sexual and gender-based violence is an issue that needs to be tackled, no matter what scale it’s on and no matter what the gender, nationality or cultural background of the victim. Minimizing it just makes it worse.

      With comments like this one, you’re part of the problem.

  24. Really good article but as a Thai woman I felt ashamed after reading it. Sick attitudes of Thai people on these rape and gender equality things always upset me. Sometimes I feel that it’s hopeless to change these prehistoric people’s minds; If you’re ‘rad’ (slutty), you deserve to be raped, If you’re wearing sexy outfit, it means you wanna have sex and every man has every right to rape you, If you go to a man’s place it’s your subtle way to say yes, and so on.

    It’s understandable why those men don’t want to change their mindset. Why would they? It gives them a big advantage to just f**k around. But what annoys me the most is the fact that there are a lot of Thai women who still believe in these bullshit told by these men and of course, those lakorns as well. There are so many cases that mean slutty girls got raped by villains as a punishment at the end and the audience were so very satisfied with that…but in fact, no one deserves to get raped no matter how slutty they are.

    I think this is one of a tools this patriarchal society is using to keep women in control and behave in the way considered ‘good’. Be a good girl or you’ll get punished and you’ll be worthless. Sadly, not many women have realized this because they’ve been fooled for so long. They just sit there and wait for men to define their value and judge how they should be treated.

    Thank you for writing this article. It’s really sad that you can see how exactly things go while most of Thai people can’t.

    • Hi Montira,

      Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment. These disgusting attitudes towards rape and victims of it exist everywhere but seeing such ideas perpetuated in the media as much as they are in Thailand is really disturbing. It’s been really wonderful to receive such a supportive response from Thai people, and it goes to show that there are lots of people who feel as strongly about it as we do. Perhaps they’d just kept quiet about it until now.

  25. So good to see these issues being discussed in such an intelligent and heartfelt way. I’ve seen a few articles like this in the last year. Hopefully times are changing. Lakorn producers, as well as many others in society, should be truly ashamed of themselves. (Well done on your measured and intelligent reply to Maarten ! Don’t wanna say how I’d have replied … I know 2 wrongs don’t make a right, but …) I remember two 12 year old girls being raped in a night club a few years ago and was sick to the stomach to hear my girlfriend blame them for being in a nightclub at their age. Rape culture is truly ingrained in society. You’re right, education is the key. Unfortunately I don’t have too much confidence in the mindset of most teachers. And rape culture exists everywhere !!! This isn’t an attack on Thailand. The first step to solving a problem is to acknowledge it. Not blind patriotism and denial.

    • Thanks, James. Thanks for the comment! It’s good to get people talking about it and in doing so, hopefully we can get things moving forward. There National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) had a meeting about women in media last week, where they were due to unveil new rules for soap operas regarding scenes of sexual violence. I’ve yet to hear the results of that, but am keeping my fingers crossed.

      Comments like Maarten’s are to be expected, but it’s good to know that I’m not the only one who thinks they’re ridiculous!

  26. As a Thai teacher, I think what the student said was totally inappropriate. But I am not quite sure it has to do with the rape culture in Thailand. I am not discussing about rape culture a this point. But what he said is not a normal thing regular Thai students would say to a teacher or another female student. It’s just that what he did was wrong and his classmate also responded to his action poorly. If the same situation, happen to a Thai teacher, it would be a big deal. Rape culture may or may not exist in Thailand and there is much to discuss about it. But his action was out of line and not acceptable in Thailand.

    • Hi LinLina,

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I didn’t mean to convey in this post that his behaviour was generally acceptable in Thailand. I knew that it wasn’t and that became very clear from the supportive response from my coworkers and managers, During 5 years teaching here, this was the first and only time I’ve received such a comment, so it’s certainly not normal. The reason it ties into the conversation about rape culture is because rape culture contributes to situations like that one. In the UK, there was a recent case of an underage girl who was abused by a famous footballer, and she was shamed and threatened by members of the public who blamed her for the imprisonment of the footballer and accused her of welcoming the abuse. Of course, the majority of people are horrified by this and would never take this view, but the fact that even a small amount of people think this way is an example of rape culture.

  27. This article brings me back to rape in the US. Questions such as the ridiculous! Well how do you define rape? Remember those court cases? How does a man define rape, how does a woman define rape? Insidious and insane behavior! Thailand it seems is baseing rape on culture. It’s not culture, it is the law! What are the laws and where are the lawmakers? Where are the rights? What are men being taught about women and women about men? Times have changed and the militarized government is mostly to blame for the incidence of rape , torture and abuse of women. Culture ? No way! Militarization yes! Freedom is rule of law! You respect the law or go to jail. In Thailand it’s all about the police and military state! Think about it????? Think!!!!

  28. Pingback: El 'baño masaje' tailandés, ¿cómo lo viven ellas?

  29. I have been trying to tell this to all of the people i know
    I posted on facebook about how curel it is and i even wrote a report about this in the feminist class but some of my friends say i’m too serious and no one cares cus Lakorn was made just for entertaining people
    It just sad to hear this kind of attitude from my friends

  30. It’s not just Thai’s soup operas. It’s because of several causes.
    For young kids, they usually watch Thai’s soap operas with their family (a lot of female Thai like to watch it, so their kids copy them).
    For teenagers, they usually watch Thai’s soap operas and erotic fictions on the internet. Some girls are so obsessed with rape fictions that they want to be raped the way the protagonist was.
    The other cause is the children’s parents (or whoever around them). Many of them can’t see how cruel raping is. They joke, laugh, say that they want to rape like it is completely normal in front of children.

    Ps. There are many words that mean “rape” in Thai language other than ปล้ำ and ข่มขืน, such as ลงแขก (long kaek), เย็ด (yed), จับกด (jab kod), อัดตูด (Aud tood) this word is used with males.

  31. I grew up watching thai lakorn with my family. I use to think the protagonists was so sweet. “He raped her, cos he loved her” I use to think. I didn’t know any better. I was a child. Only when I reached my late teens did I despise the larkorns. One, they kept churning out the same old stories, just with new actors. Two, I understood that rape s aren’t romantic even done by a handsome protagonists. It’s a crime! Three, the females in them are mostly meek and weak. The only thing going for them is their beauty. They’re nothing without it. Hate those lakorns with a passion now
    I don’t watch them anym

  32. Normally, There have many variety Thai Lakorn to watch not only the Rape one. For me, I’m addicted to Lakorn called Gasohug… Rak Tem Thang( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gI_Ul8Cb0ro ) you can google for eng sub , I really like the actor and actress ,good chemistry obviously,It’s so damn goodd …. Diary Tootsies The Series , Hormones , Full House(Thai version) etc. I hate some Thai raping Lakorn too but as I can see there have many Lankorn style you can choose .

  33. Pingback: Forced Love: The Normalization and Trivialization of Rape Culture in Thai Dramas - BSJAS

  34. Pingback: the past few days: easter break. | 2015 in london

  35. Pingback: Sexual Assault in Gyms | Under The Ropes

  36. I’m an American who worked as an English teacher in South Korea and was raped in my bed after I was asleep by a Korean acquaintance of one of my roommates. He had planned to sleep on our couch, but got other ideas in the middle of the night. My Korean girlfriends assured me that going to the police would only end in being shamed. I had gone out with the group (and the man was in this group) and had a couple of drinks. Women who drink publicly and foreigners are held to different standards. I was shocked that it wouldn’t even matter to the police, but I accepted what she said. She talked about how common rape was and how many young girls are pulled off the streets and raped by shop owners, only to be pushed back on to the streets on their walk home from school. I felt like going to South Korea was like going back in time to the ’50s in the U.S. I could have pressed charges in the U.S. Maybe he would have only gotten 6 months like Brock Turner. Maybe he wouldn’t have been charged, but maybe he would have gotten 10 years. I think if Thailand is anything like South Korea, things are probably worse there than in the U.S. Things are tough here…it depends on who you are certainly…With racism in play…a minority male who rapes might get a higher sentence than a privileged white kid whose parents have money. I was on the other end of racism…I was a white foreign women in South Korea…the men often viewed me and help me to the standard of American pornography. Here’s my article if you are interested.

    https://triciabarkernde.com/2016/06/11/recovery-from-rape-a-spiritual-in-response-to-the-sentence-for-brock-turner/

  37. Pingback: Week 4 Blog Post | ANP 270: Women and Health

  38. Pingback: Muay Thai in Thailand: Gear, Gym Reviews, Stadiums, Podcasts, and More

  39. Pingback: Moving To Thailand: A Guide for Expats to Live Here

  40. Pingback: Teaching English in Thailand: My Most Ridiculous Experiences | Under The Ropes

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s