‘Thammasat’ is the first Asian university that invites UN to be a committee preventing and stopping sexual harassment.
Thammasat University (TU) cooperates with The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) and associated agency like Thai Health Promotion Foundation, a private organization for gender diversity and health. The university promotes campaign “TU Say No To Sexual Harassment on Campus. We are ‘Generation Equality’.” on 25 November 2019. The purpose of the campaign is to encourage and protect human rights in all genders. Also, we will build a social system preventing, checking, supporting and upholding justice for all genders. Thammasat will make sure that all genders live in university safely. Thammasat is considered the first Asain University that practically cooperates with the UN.
Prof.Orapan Poachanukoon, M.D., Vice Rector for Student Affairs, Thammasat University, reveals that according to the lack of gender diversity in most institutions, TU learnt to create protection measures and practical prevention. Currently, we initiate board of committee supporting gender diversity and security in order to protect all students and staff at Thammasat University.
Board of Committee is comprised of Vice Rector for Students Affairs as a president, committee from TU administrator, professors from Faculty of Laws, professors from Faculty of Social Administration, professors from Faculty of Public Health, representative from TU’s student council, TU’s student union, and representatives from civil society organization for gender rights and representatives from UN, 15 in total. “Board of Committee’s main role is to receive and tackle with student’s complaint, give justice and build resilience to people inside and outside the university. The protection of rights will be effective and it can ensure students that they can report when problems happen.” Prof.Orapan, M.D. said.
Prof.Orapan, M.D. also says that apart from the complaint management, the committees are also responsible for establishing strategy, plan, measure, and activities preventing gender discrimination and sexual abuse under the principle “No rights to assult anyone in any situation, anywhere, and any time”.
Asst.Prof. Ronnapoom Samakkeekarom from Faculty of Public Health, Thammasat University, Committee on Consideration of Unfair Gender Discrimination according to Gender Equality Act, B.E. 2558 (2015), says that women are at risk of any kinds of sexual harassment, including verbal and visual conduct, and physical conduct. According to the statistics, 21% of students or one fifth has been a victim of sexual harassment. Therefore, TU’s reaction will tackle the issue effectively as the committees are specialized and there is a committee from external organization working with us.
As a result, board of committee will establish subcommittees who investigate and look into the issue. Subcommittees will also protect and propose a healing measure for sexual victims to be recovered from the trauma. “Creating safe space and society by respecting each others require all parties’ cooperation. Therefore, this campaign is a work of all agencies that have the same goal which is gender diversity and security.” Asst.Prof. Ronnapoom said.
Mr. Sunatthawit Wattanapol, President of TU’s Student Council, informs that it is a good start as students can be a part of the committees. Students will act as a news receiver through their friends’ stories and will pass the story to the committee to find a solution to the issue. Mr. Sunatthawit tells that originally, sexual victims will not have a chance to talk about the issue. Therefore, we should listen to sexual victims in order to propel social change to learn about the problem and help them. It is a small beginning to the national issue.
“For the students who have experience or who are friends with the victim, we have to speak up the issue. We can start by sharing your experiences in order to tackle the problem and create prevention of future harassment in other students.” Mr. Sunatthawit stated.