Law student posts account of sexual assault to fight rape culture

Thararat Panya (Facebook)
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A law student at Thammasat University has come forward with an account of sexual assault to fight rape culture.

She said her statement was intended to encourage other victims to take action after an assault, since so many kept silent and were repeatedly abused.

“Had I decided not to speak up, I might have been a factor that encourages rape culture to happen in the future,” Thararat Panya wrote on Facebook.

Her post included a copy of the university’s decision to punish another law student for violating the student code of conduct with a one-semester suspension and community service.

While Thammasat University described the violation as “inappropriate behaviour”, Thararat has disclosed details about how the senior student in the Faculty of Law allegedly sexually assaulted her.

Photo: The Nation/Asia News Network

“Fortunately, I had the opportunity to kick him and push him away,” Thararat said.

She admitted being drunk on the night of the incident, when she stayed at a friend’s dormitory room along with several other inebriated friends and senior students. She said her attacker was one of the senior students that she had previously trusted. Thararat said the student later said he had been drunk and did not mean to assault her.

“But I don’t buy such an excuse. Being drunk does not give you the right to mistreat others,” Thararat said.

She said her post was not intended to humiliate the other student, but instead empower victims of sexual assault.

“Speaking up comes with a price. But I would like to encourage victims to come forward … You have the rights to bring culprits to justice,” she said.

Thararat has made clear she will not try to hide her identity in discussing the incident because she had not done anything wrong. While her statement has drawn several positive responses and encouraging comments, there has also been negative criticism.

People have posted social media comments attacking her for exposing herself to a possible assault by laying down in a bed with male students after everyone had been drinking. On a popular Facebook page, Thararat’s comment has generated a huge debate.

“Don’t be naive. It’s not possible to tell dogs that they do not have the right to bark or bite. That’s hard to do even if you have 100 years to try to train those dogs,” Udom Sutti commented.

Another unnamed netizen suggested that drunk males should never put themselves in situations where their sexual urges could overcome their conscience. “And if you are not drunk, watch your friends. Don’t let the males get close to females. Don’t leave drunk females in dangerous areas,” he said.

He added that no one should take risks because the damage from an assault could not be undone.

The administrator of the Facebook page, “Mam Pho Dam”, or “Queen of Spades”, said she would “fight to the end” if any of her younger relatives were assaulted. She made the comment after helping a schoolgirl demand justice following complaints that a seemingly virtuous teacher had sexually harassed her.

“I would like to update [readers] that the school executive has already contacted the girl’s family and promised to take the toughest action against teachers,” she said. – ANN

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