It’s been proven that women experience sexual harassment no matter what they wear, but a new regulation in Thailand shows that many still can’t quit victim-blaming.
Late last month, the country’s Education Minister issued new rules under the Child Protection Act of 2003, which will prohibit female students from wearing clothing deemed too revealing like short skirts and tight shirts. All schools in Thailand will have to adhere to the new regulation and the parents or guardians of any student who breaks i could be fined up to 30,000 Baht ($979 US).
Authorities say there is now a trend among some female students to wear attire that’s suggestive or considered obscene, although it did not specify what these outfits actually are, The Thai Examiner reported.
The extreme dress code is meant to curb the rising cases of sexual harassment in Thai schools, according to The Independent. Sexually suggestive behaviour on school grounds have also been banned.
A recent survey conducted by United Kingdom-based market research firm YouGov found that 21 percent of 1,107 Thai respondents said they have been through some form of sexual harassment. Seventeen percent said that these incidents occurred at school or university. Only one in five respondents were aware of the global #MeToo movement, which urges women to speak out about cases of sexual abuse.
This is not the first time the Thai government tried to control women’s attire. In March 2018, authorities came under fire for telling women to avoid wearing anything considered “sexy,” in the lead up to the Thai New Year. Women were outraged at the implication that this would help them avoid sexual harassment.