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The advice to avoid a Phuket tuk-tuk still applies for lone women

Phuket's Women Still Need Courage

Saturday, June 16, 2012
News Analysis

PHUKET: Women on Phuket should be horrified at the behavior of the Australian tourist who ''cried wolf'' this week over rape.

Fifteen days in a Phuket jail seems fitting punishment for lying to Patong police about such a serious matter.

To go from a world of privilege and partying to a crowded dormitory cell in another country - where English is not spoken widely - will be a disconcerting experience, and perhaps a good lesson.

The Sydney 21-year-old's thoughtless behavior has left all women on Phuket worse off. Why? Because it's a case that is the exception, rather than the rule.

And it comes just as efforts were being made to ensure all police on Phuket respond with care and consideration to all allegations of rape.

In the past, women who have been courageous enough to go to police on Phuket to lodge a complaint of rape have not always been certain of receiving care and consideration.

There are times when appalling violations have been greeted with disbelief or disdain by police. In a recent case, one officer even thought he was doing the right thing by bringing the alleged perpetrator to greet his victim ''to apologise.''

It's worth remembering that for every rape reported to police, there are probably 20 that go unreported.

Thankfully, Phuket's no-nonsense Police Commander, Major General Chonsit Wadhnawarangkun, has heeded the pleas from Phuket's honorary consuls to ensure that complaints of rape are always treated with care and consideration.

Female tourists as well as Thais living on Phuket will be eternally grateful if they can be assured that every effort is being made to make sure Phuket's reputation as a safe place for all is maintained.

Visitors need to know, though, that the same kinds of precautions have to be taken on holiday on Phuket as at home: never get into a taxi or a tuk-tuk alone, especially at night after having a few drinks. Try to avoid areas where you are on your own any time, but especially parks and beaches after dark.

These precautions need to be taken not because Phuket is any more dangerous than other places, but because tropical holiday islands are no less dangerous than other places.

Visitors have a tendency to succumb quickly to the Phuket holiday mentality that sunshine brings on, the feeling that life is wonderful and nothing can go wrong. It just isn't true.

There was a time when this week's rape lie would have become an important topic for the next honorary consuls' meeting with the Phuket Governor, the Phuket Police Commander and other leading officials.

Alarmingly, no date has been proposed for the next three-monthly honorary consuls' meeting, which was due to be held around May 23.

If there is no plan for more honorary consuls' meetings to be held, it's about time somebody said so. That regular envoys' forum is what led to Phuket having its first woman police officer appointed specifically to deal with rape cases.

With no more meetings planned to discuss rape and other important issues of public safety and security, there is no public forum for discussion about alleged assaults and rip-offs, either.

And the women of Phuket - Thais, expats and tourists - will simply have to fall back on their own courage in complaining about rape in future.

Comments

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(moderated)

Posted by Joe on June 16, 2012 20:07

Editor Comment:

PHUKETWAN hereby alters its policy on the posting of Comments and bans whingers, whiners, do-nothings, dingbats, doomsayers, carpers, harpers and kooks. This list may grow with time. Constructive ideas and new pieces of information remain welcome.

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Fifteen days in a Phuket jail seems fitting punishment for lying to Patong police about such a serious matter.

A more appropriate punishment would be for her to be the guest of honor at a blanket party, hosted by the legitimate victims of rape in Phuket.

Posted by fw on June 17, 2012 02:32

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Excellent article. I would imagine she's brought local attitudes to rape right back to where they were: either "she's lying" or "she invited it". Unfortunately now there's a fresh example to hold up. It takes years to breakdown these attitudes.

Posted by James on June 18, 2012 09:19

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If you ban all the "whingers, whiners, do-nothings, dingbats, doomsayers, carpers, harpers and kooks" There will go all the good original content. LOL. I think you should let them keep posting and then make a wall of fame or shame for it. I think that would get the most hits. Keep up the controversial writing. And let the crazies have the post.

Posted by Market it Dont Ban it on June 18, 2012 11:02

Editor Comment:

Well, the ''Unpublishable Phuketwan Comments'' would be great idea once we've collected all the real identities.


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