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Thai Women Respond With #DontTellMeHowToDress To Govt’s ‘Dress Safe’ Advice

  • IWB Post
  •  April 14, 2018

The Songkran Festival that celebrates Thai New Year witnesses the “world’s biggest water fight” on the streets of  Thailand every year from April 13 to 15. The water festival ringing in the New Year with lots of joy sadly also becomes an event where girls are sexually assaulted.

The festival can be more joyous for everybody if the security is tightened or maybe for once men are asked to not misbehave but the Thai government, like any other country’s, did the easiest thing – advised girls to dress appropriately to prevent sex crimes during the water festival.The advice (obviously) wasn’t welcomed by the girls and they had the perfect reply to it – #DontTellMeHowToDress.

The campaign was started by a Thai-American model and TV host Cindy Sirinya Bishop. After Thailand’s director general of the department of local administration, Sutthipong Chulcharoen, encouraged women to dress appropriately to prevent sex crimes during the water festival last month, Cindy replied with an Instagram post.

ของขึ้น ขอระบาย 😡 Women have the right to dress however we choose, as long as it’s not illegal. Sexual assault and harassment is never the woman’s fault! Tell men to keep their hands to themselves! #rant #basichumanrights #donttellmehowtodress #tellmentobehave

17.3k Likes, 604 Comments – Cindy Sirinya Bishop (@cindysirinya) on Instagram: “ของขึ้น ขอระบาย 😡 Women have the right to dress however we choose, as long as it’s not illegal….”

Cindy Sirinya Bishop on Twitter

The way I dress doesn’t mean YES. Reminding everyone to respect each other this Songkran…. การแต่งกายของฉันไม่ใช่การเชิญชวนให้ลวนลาม หวังว่าสงกรานต์นี้ทุกคนจะให้เกียรติซึ่งกันและกันนะคะ 🙏🏻❤️#donttellmehowtodress #tellmentorespect

The advice from the government brought back painful memories of the model when she was caught in one of such situation. Cindy was 17 when she had last attended the festival and as she narrates the incident to BBC, she recalled her attire. She was dressed in a loose black t-shirt and three-quarter shorts. Cindy recapped, “They surrounded me and tried touching me. I just ran and managed to get away from them. I haven’t been to Songkran since.”

Her campaign was soon joined and taken ahead by other Thai women.

Joe Bowles on Twitter

@cindysirinya It’s dumb that someone lays the blame on women and the way they dress,rather than the jerks who harass women. The way a women is dressed has zero to do with a men needing to respect them. The way a woman is dressed has nothing to do with an invitation for harassment.

Bill Bruno on Twitter

Of course, nothing in the government “advice” telling men not to be predatory. #MeToo #DontTellMeHowToDress #TellMenToRespect

Vipada Chaiyakit on Twitter

Modest clothing doesn’t protect women from sexual assault!! #DontTellMeHowToDress #TellMenToRespect

According to reports, nearly 60 percent of women said they had been groped during Songkran and only a small number reported these incidents to police, according to a survey of 1,650 women by Thailand-based Women and Men Progressive Movement Foundation this month.

“It has become such a problem because it’s hard to point fingers. It’s hard in that situation when everyone is having a good time,” said Cindy urging authorities to step up and issue warnings to revellers against sexual harassment.


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