Thai Church Tackles Domestic Violence

National Catholic Reporter, April 8, 2005 | Go to article overview

Thai Church Tackles Domestic Violence


Domestic violence might be kept a private matter in many Thai families, but the local church is working to address the issue through workshops and pastoral contact with families.

"Wife-beating is common among Thais, even Catholics," said Sopee Suksamran of the Catholic bishops' Commission for the Family. "Domestic violence and how to deal with it is often brought up during church training programs to help couples overcome personal problems and strengthen their marriages," he said.

Domestic violence was the subject of a recent seminar at St. John's University in Bangkok, where Phensri Phichaisanit, a doctor and deputy governor of Bangkok, said that Thai culture treats domestic violence as a private matter not to be spoken of outside the family. She said police usually do not interfere when cases are reported to them.

St. John's law professor Vimolsiri Chamnanvet cited an old law that "allows husbands to teach their wives a lesson by beating them."

Phensri also pointed to the way Thai people raise their children. She explained that boys are given "privileges" such as the freedom to go out and play with friends, while girls usually are given domestic chores. …

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