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Thai women reject Songkran advice with 'don't tell me how to dress' campaign

Thai women reject Songkran advice with 'don't tell me how to dress' campaign
From BBC - April 12, 2018

When a Thai government official told women to dress carefully to prevent harassment at the Songkran festival, it brought back painful memories for model Cindy Sirinya Bishop.

The Thai-American was just 17 when she was sexually harassed at the New Year celebrations. Dressed in a loose black t-shirt and three-quarter shorts, Ms Bishop found herself cornered by five men after she was separated from her friends.

"They surrounded me and tried touching me. I just ran and managed to get away from them. I have not been to Songkran since," Ms Bishop told the BBC.

The three-day festival, which begins on Friday, is marked by the pouring of water to symbolise washing away misfortune from the previous year.

Last month Sutthipong Chulcharoen, Thailand's director general of the department of local administration, encouraged women to dress appropriately to prevent sex crimes during the water festival.

In response, Ms Bishop posted some clips on Instagram - along with the hashtags #DontTellMeHowToDress and #TellMenToRespect - and found plenty of people shared her dismay.

The 39-year-old said the hashtags were "targeting the idea that women are to blame for sexual harassment".

#DontTellMeHowToDress

It was not long before other women began sharing their own stories.

"I was out with a friend and a female cousin [during Songkran], wearing a turtle-necked top, sweat pants and a sweater because I get cold easily," said one user on Twitter.

After losing track of her friends, she quickly found herself surrounded by a group of boys.

What were you wearing?

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