TV channels' portrayal of sexual violence harms our society

TV channels' portrayal of sexual violence harms our society

A few years ago, BEC World executive director Pravit Maleenont vowed to limit violence in TV Channel 3's series for the sake of society. Female activists - firmly convinced that violent acts shown in soap operas promotes violence in society - warmly welcomed this.

Alas, things remain much the same. One of the most frequent forms of violence in TV series these days involves rape. Even though these series don't say rape is good, they are guilty of normalising sexual violence.

This was reflected in the most recent series, "Samee Tee Tra" (Registered Husband). It has kept millions of Thais glued to the TV every Wednesday and Thursday in recent months.

In a recent scene, Nampheung - a lead character playing a seductress - was seen crying and terrified when a client attempted to violate her. Indeed, the scene could have been omitted.

Though the scene was a part of Nampheung's strategy to win a man, this could have been changed to something else.

Rape is referenced in numerous series. Mostly, it involves the two lead characters. The female lead character is kept in the house and raped.

At the end of the series, the rapist said he did it out of love. At the end, the two resolve their conflict and live together happily ever after.

Would that happen in real life? Rape as the equivalent to the emergence of a soul mate?

Morally, no matter what the circumstance is and no matter who the victim is, rape is unacceptable. If a man is to win a woman's heart, it is definitely not this way.

Morally, all people should say no to these scenes.

Perhaps, they are too familiar with the teaching that anyone doing bad deeds deserves bad treatment.

It explains why some viewers pardon male characters who rape female characters out of love. It also explains why some viewers had no sympathy for Nampheung.

"It serves her right," is one of the most common comments. This is an alarming sign - TV series, though inadvertently, have been justifying sexual violence against women.

TV series can be used to promote moral standards. A man should be encouraged to stand up to something wrong.

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