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It's the SRT that should be feeling the shame

Re: "Law is on the side of the rapist" and "Shame and silence: the cornerstones of our rape culture", Letters, July 10.

Prompted by the recent news of Sunday's rape and murder of a 13-year old girl aboard a train, a woman raped by a state railway employee on a train in 2001 plucked up the courage to write an open letter to the chiefs of the NCPO and State Railway of Thailand, (reported by The Nation on July 9). My mouth went dry as I read that letter.

She asked "why again", referring to Sunday's crime, and went on to describe the "living death" she still endures despite years of psychiatric treatment and medication. She also described how her boyfriend had left her and her employer pressured her to quit over the stigma.

The man who raped her was sentenced to eight years in prison. She successfully sued the state railway in the civil courts but has still not been compensated because the state railway had the audacity to appeal to the Supreme Court. So far her only compensation from the SRT is the word "sorry". (Reports now say that the SRT withdrew its appeal on Thursday, fearing bad publicity.)

By now, the man must have completed his eight-year sentence, while she must live with the nightmare of 2001 for the rest of her life. She suffered the pain of revisiting the event in order to draw public attention to the despicable and irresponsible operation of the state railway. No doubt there are many other such victims we don't know about, who have chosen to suffer in silence. It has taken a brutal crime to rouse the public's anger against the gross negligence of this agency. The vociferous calls for action - especially with regards to staff on night trains - are well overdue. Rapists are often serial criminals: how many of them are still serving overnight passengers?

Songdej Praditsmanont

Bangkok


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