Thailand is a beautiful country overflowing with culture but what isn’t widely known so much is that there is a huge cultural tolerance to gender based violence. Many of the women living in the project have encountered this violence at various stages throughout their lives. GBV and rape culture appear to be normalised in Thai communities where quite often it is the women that are blamed and shamed and driven out of their communities. Most abusers are not held responsible as the the women are too afraid to speak out against the community. This violence has a lasting physical, sexual and psychological effect. DEVAW states that this violence is “a manifestation of historical unequal power relations between men and women and to the prevention of full advancement of women”.
Thai tv programmes are filled with scenes of GBV and rape is portrayed as a love story in the most watched dramas. This is very concerning due to the high percentage of young people that watch these dramas as almost immediately it sends the wrong message to Thai youth. Young men are given the impression that such vile acts are acceptable whereby young women are encouraged to remain socially silenced. The women in the project have grown up been subjected to or witnessing this violence on female relatives and women in their community. The home and outside organisations provide various therapies such as art and yoga to help the healing process and educate the women that such behaviour is unacceptable.
The Ministry of Public Health assisted with setting up The One Stop Crisis Centre. These centres provide support for female victims of various forms of abuse. They are located at all provincial and district hospitals. Judges and police are receiving gender based violence sensitivity training so steps are been taking to address this issue but there is still not enough help available to rehabilitate the perpetrators of this violence and the dramas still air on tv sets around Thailand every day.