MUIC Sustainability

Student Perceptions of Sexual Harassment in Thailand: Origins and Impact

Piyathida Puchakanit & Douglas Rhein

In Thailand, the repercussions of sexual harassment are evident yet often overlooked. Legal protection is still in the development stage and the education system has not systematically incorporated sexual harassment-based pedagogies within the national education agenda. Definitions and perceptions of sexual harassment vary and are often considered the byproduct of socialization and enculturation, yet gaining a better conceptualization of the subjective perception of harassment in Thailand is paramount to the development of protocols aimed at prevalence reduction. This article explores variances in Thai perceptions of sexual harassment and origins of participant knowledge of the topic. In-depth interviews were used to gain insight into this social phenomenon within the Thai context. Results indicate that the participants became aware of sexual harassment during secondary education either through media, direct observation or direct experience. Participants further distinguished varying acts of sexual harassment based on the psychological consequences of the act as opposed to the act itself. This article further discusses the influence of specific aspects of Thai culture such as conservativism, victimization and masculinity. Lastly, the authors offer an explanation for the varying conceptualizations of sexual harassment.

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