By KHANATHIT SRIHIRUNDAJ
This latest case emerged as gender equality advocates warned Thai society of a growing number of domestic violence incidents, mostly targeting women and children.
Former TV reporter Dara (not her real name) attributed the assaults to differing views on child-raising.
After giving birth more than a year ago, she turned to counselling, a common course of action among new mums nowadays. However, she said, her husband continued the abuse, claiming she only needed counselling because she was mentally ill.
On April 16, her husband changed the locks at their home and stopped her from having access to their daughter, so she filed a complaint with the Bangkok Noi police and had officers accompany her home, she said.
When they arrived, her husband refused to let her in and challenged her to take him to court. However, her mother-in-law stepped in and promised to help negotiate matters, so Dara agreed to drop the complaint.
After a few days of living together, however, Dara said she was assaulted again, so she decided to call on CSD to help her gain access to her daughter and collect her belongings from the house.
Supensri Pungkhoksung, a women’s rights advocate and executive at Social Equality Promotion Foundation, who accompanied Dara to the house, said that though Thailand already had a law that protected women from domestic violence, officials did not provide timely aid to victims. Therefore, she said, it was about time related agencies, such as the police and the Social Development and Human Security Ministry, stepped in.
Meanwhile, CSD deputy inspector Pol Captain Pichanon Pleumsud said Dara’s husband had agreed to take her belongings to the police station, adding that the child custody issue would have to be determined in court.
He also said that police were investigating Dara’s assault allegations and her husband would be summoned to give his side of the story once she had been medically examined.
The Women and Men Progressive Movement Foundation, which monitored 11 newspapers from January and July 2018, previously reported that as many as 367 cases of domestic violence had been reported over those seven months, of which 242 cases (65.9 per cent) resulted in deaths, 84 cases were assaults and 41 cases had led to suicides.
That figure of 65.9 per cent resulting in deaths was the highest for fatal domestic violence cases in the four years that the foundation had conducted similar surveys – it had been 59.1 per cent in 2012, 62.5 per cent in 2014 and 48.5 per cent in 2016.
The Foundation also found that up to 94.9 per cent of people witnessing domestic violence decided not to intervene and it urged Thai society to change its attitude. The Public Health Ministry’s 10,611 One Stop Crisis Centres (OSCCs) around the country together reported that from the OSCCs inception in 2004 until November last year, a total of 247,480 people (including 119,331 women and 121,860 children) were allegedly the victims of violence and had sought aid at their centres.
While most children were subjected to sexual violence by people close to them, most women were victims of assaults due to arguments or jealousy, it found.