Violence against women in Thailand on the rise: Study

BANGKOK (THE NATION/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Moves to stem the rising incidents of violence against women have not succeeded, and in Thailand there are almost 100 abuse cases reported daily, with most of the attackers a partner or family member.

The sobering news comes as the world marked International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women this week.

Aun (not her real name) has been victimised by her "hot-tempered" husband for decades. The physical and mental abuse has left her yearning for a separation but the thought of her two children being without a dad means she continues to endure the abuse.

"We have been together for decades. He wasn't like this at first," she said. "But when we had two children, he started to drink with friends almost every day.

"When he came home, he would argue with me and beat me up. He once stabbed me with a sharp metal while I was asleep but my kids stopped him. I wouldn't have survived."

Som (not her real name) endured her husband's abuse for 10 years because she was taught to be his submissive follower. "I was taught that women should love and obey their husbands even if they hurt you," she said. "I endured it until he died in a drunk-driving accident, which freed me from the domestic violence," she said.

Violence against women is on the rise, or at least the number of reported incidents has increased.

Women and Men Progressive Movement Foundation director Jadet Chaowilai said that in 2013 there were some 31,966 recorded victims, compared with 20,000 in 2012. That means there was an average of 87 reported cases of abuse against women each day.

Mr Jadet said domestic killings rose from 174 deaths in 2011 to 186 in 2012.

"Domestic violence is on rise - either husband attacks wife or wife attacks or kills husband in self-defence or children kill dad or vice versa," he said.

A major contributing factor behind the violence was the attitude of men - that they must be patronising - he said, adding that youths should be taught otherwise to lower the number of attacks against women.

Deputy police chief Reungsak Jarit-ek said the law required victims or witnesses of violence to alert the police via hotlines so they could enforce the Domestic Violence Victim Protection Act.

"You cannot think it's a family's internal affair," he said.

But he said that reporting offences was not enough; families must work together to reduce the risk of violence.

The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women reported that most incidents of violence in Thailand involved husbands and wives or lovers.

Thailand ranked 36th among 75 countries in acts of physical violence and seventh among 71 countries in sexual violence.