Rape on Thai TV
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Rape on Thai TV

Jeerawat Na Thalang in The Nation:
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This weekend, Rinlada’s fate will be decided. The producer has decided to punish this bad girl by having her raped by 12 men. Women’s groups are furious. Palakorn Somsuwan, the producer, defended the decision to honour the original plot, but the most revealing comment comes from Araya A Hargett, the actress who plays this part. She was quoted by Khao Sod as saying: “The soap ends in the way it should. A bad girl deserves bad things.” Rinlada will face gang rape to ensure a “happy ending” to this soap.
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/>Some conservatives cried out when the Culture Ministry chose the scantily dressed “Girly-Berry” girl group as presenters for the Songkran Festival, but aren’t the girls entitled to wear whatever they want as long as they don’t break the law? Chotiros Suriyawong, a young actress, had to apologise to the public for wearing too revealing a dress to a Thai awards ceremony equivalent to Hollywood’s Oscars, this despite the fact that her dress would pale in comparison to Jennifer Lopez’s low-slung V neckline Versace outfit.
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/>The argument from “sensitive” quarters is that “inappropriate” behaviour by young women could increase the number of sexual assaults or rapes. The simplistic rhetoric is that girls should be partly or wholly blamed for acts of aggression against them because of their poor choice of dress, that they are responsible for the circumstances that they put themselves in.
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/>But we haven’t heard any argument from these conservative quarters when TV producers try to suggest that sexual assault is acceptable. Such scenes are increasingly shown on TV, even when many young children are still awake and watching. The rating system which appears on the bottom right of the TV screen is a joke.
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/>What is equally sad is that the TV rapists are not branded as bad guys. In “Sawan Beang”, a popular TV drama also aired during prime time, the male lead character, played by heart-throb Theeradej Wongpuapan, the Thai version of Brad Pitt, committed rape. In “Sawan Beang” ‘s final scene, the rapist married his victim and everything was happy-ever-after. I don’t know whether it was supposed to be a happy ending or a tragedy that the rapist was not prosecuted for the crime he committed.

/>BP: The rapist marrying his victim is such a common plot line of soap operas. You then often have female defenders of the sexual assault which the author illustrates happened again here. The hypocrisy astounds me. It is not the rape scene itself where you often don’t see that much, but the plotline where rapists continue to win over their victims and rapist is rarely, if ever punished. Compare that with social vices like gambling, drinking, and drugs who are the domain of the “bad guys”. The same soap opera which is trying to convey a social message against these social vices on one hand shows males that the way to win a girl over is to rape her so she is forced into marrying you.
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/>On how to solve this issue is The Nation‘s translation from the Thai media:
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Khao Sod ran an article about the sorry image of women and how they have been portrayed in television soap dramas. The paper pointed to a rape scene in “Dao Puen Din” (“Tainted Star”). The episode will be shown on Channel Seven. In spite of the fact that the actual footage has yet to be shown – soap scripts can obtained from certain dailies -omen groups are up in arms. According to Channel Seven, one way to decide on the issue is to take a vote. The public will have their say about whether they want to see the rape scene on television or have the script rewritten. It seems a moment of television truth for the Thai public is coming soon.

/>BP: No doubt an SMS vote where Channel Seven will profit. Banning it seems silly as well as it is not the rape scene which is not necessarily disturbing – you don’t have wanton displays of flesh and often don’t see much, but you do know what goes on. Just don’t watch the shows and don’t purchase the products of advertisers who advertise on the show.
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/>TJTS has some insightful comments:
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I find it fascinating that the producers did change the storyline when air hostesses were put in a negative light when their so-called honor and sexual morals were questioned in another soap a few months ago.
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/>BP: Impinging the honour of air hostesses is not allowed, but gang rape is?