Friday, March 23, 2007

Bangkok Policeman Out of Control

In Bangkok there was a horrible incident a couple days ago. There was a policeman, young and out of control, who got drunk with a local bar girl and then demanded that she have sex with him. The girl refused. Nobody knows the details of exactly what her refusal was, I mean whether it was her refusing to give him sex for free or if she just wasn't interested, but regardless of this he went crazy when she told him no.

It's truly a horror story as he went to his police truck and pulled a machete out, returned and hacked off her right arm. The drunken officer, despite witnesses and the girl herself telling the authorities what happened, came out today and claimed that he had not cut off her arm. I guess he thinks perhaps that she cut it off herself or something after he left.

The entire thing is sickening, but I really believe that Thailand has a serious problem with male expectations about sex. It is true that a bar girl often provides sex for money, but it is not always the case and she has the right to chose in these situations. Many girls have told me they don't enjoy dating, especially the younger guys, because the date is like a tab being built. Dinner tacks on about 500 baht, a movie and soft drinks another 500, and maybe a drink somewhere after the movie will add another 500 baht and so the man often feels he is owed something for the 1,500 baht he has spent. I believe, if the culture here was not so shy about talking about this issue, that the number of date rapes in the country would be staggering. In truth it is only recently that schools have begun explaining to girls that a man forcing them to have sex at the end of the date is TRULY WRONG.
But the fear I have is made worse by a conversation I had with some of my 14 year old female students. They are always reading these little pop romance books from Korea and so I asked them what the plots were like. "A man kidnaps a girl and then she will fall in love with him over time and they will (insert giggling) have a relationship and he will become good later."
Ummm????? That sounds like a blue print for disaster to me. Here are girls reading and enjoying stories about forced sexual encounters. I believe the Asian culture still has a long way to go when it comes to equality for people and especially equality for women.

Here is a culture that is so shy about sex that it is seldom talked about in public. Many of my Thai friends never slept with their wives before marriage. High school girls brag of being virgins because the stigma of being sexually active when you are a teenager is extremely ugly.
But in a culture that seems to prize the idea of virgins and of honorable relationships, it also seems to completely neglect the women who are already sexually active. Without a doubt, the bar girls, massage girls, and prostitutes are treated with no respect or consideration. This police officer is nothing but scum and he certainly doesn't represent Thai gentleman, but in some ways his belief that a girl who makes her living in the night life is nothing more than a beast who he can punish indiscriminately does bring up a serious concern.