• Mie Dyasha 🍦

Rape Culture & Sexual Violence Portray in Thai Soap Operas 🎭 by Future Creative Workers

Updated: 4 days ago

👋 Hello there,


The cover image created by Mie 😙

This is my second blog in English because I want to write it as a part of a subject, majoring in Media and Communication at Mahidol University International College (MUIC).


This blog is a part of the ICMC 205 Media Psychology and Audience Analysis (Trimester 2, Academic Year 2020-2021) final project and presentation about Thai soap operas, rape culture and sexual violence. In case if there is any mistake on this blog that we tried to apply subject topics to our contents and also English grammatical errors, we apologise for those faults in advance :)


Please DO NOT copy any content and details on my blog without my permission (Mie Dyasha), Future Creative Workers' team members (Gus, Ja, Mos) and Ajarn Mon's consent.


My blog provides details, examples and collected surveys of chosen topics and issues. I will also attach some parts of the presentation to this blog. However, I will not put the reference lists as I have done on the academic papers, and I tried to avoid if some students would try to plagiarise Future Creative Workers' contents. I apologise for the inconvenience. Only Ajarn Mon will have access to our reference lists.

👇To make it easier to read, please read here before you scroll down... 😊


★ For research and discussion contents:

- I will divide pink colour as topics for each subtopic.

- All details about every subtopic in black but separate like journalistic essays or news articles.

- The important parts in blue colour and bold because I would like to emphasise the messages.


★ For our collected surveys parts:

- The asked questions are in peachy-ish colour.

- The highlighted answers are in purple colour.

Let's begin with the introduction and definitions first... 1️⃣

Nowadays, the media, especially Television, is widespread that everyone can access. In case the media contain inappropriate contents such as gender inequality, sexual harassment, sexual assault and many more. It will have a very high influence on people’s behaviours and opinions, particularly children and adolescents.


It can be seen that Thai soaps especially have violent scenes that result in young audiences copying the actions (Puengkoaksoong, 2007). The popularity of soap operas in Thailand generates controversial problems in Thai society. Many social issues that occur among Thai people are from soap operas.


Because of the popularity of these programs, many fans imitate their favourite characters’ behaviours. Many Thai TV dramas are still stuck with Thai cultures and Thai storytelling. The stereotype of Thai TV drama is the slap & kiss thing (Salvá, 2020), which is called “rape culture”.


From Thais’ perspective, it may seem to be very common due to the same format of this acting that has been released a long time ago. It seems to be the normal thing in Thai TV drama culture. This blog offers contents on Thai soap operas (lakorns), rape culture and sexual violence that are being aired in Thai dramas and the surveys on Thais’ audiences opinions about Thai soap operas and rape on screens.

Definitions of rape cultures and sexual violence 🔎

Definitions and pictures

Firstly, the definitions of rape cultures and sexual violence are provided for basic understandings.


The definition of rape cultures from Jansen (2016), Rape culture exists in a society or environment in which common social beliefs, attitudes and morals normalise sexual violence, encourage people to associate sex with violence, and minimise the seriousness of sexual violence. Sometimes it has been normalised and excused in the media and popular culture. For example, forced kisses, slap and kisses, unwanted hugs, intentionally touching sensitive organs and rapes.


According to Kingi & Jordan (2009), sexual violence refers to any sexual act or attempt to obtain a sexual act or unwanted sexual comments or acts to traffic that are directed against a person’s sexuality using coercion by anyone. Regardless of their relationship to the victim, in any setting, including at home and work.


It is undeniable that sexual harassment, domestic violence, and rape in Thai soap operas enable rape cultures is long overdue. Any Thai TV drama or series will include sexual violence toward a female role, who is left to one of two possibilities:

1. The first possibility is she is either immediately saved by her love interest, the drama’s other protagonist

2. The second circumstance is that she will be left to suffer as she is raped on screens (Kovavisarach, 2021).


It is evident that sexual violence is a conscious option of the writers and producers to be an unavoidable component of Thai soap operas.

The objective of Thai soap operas and pop-culture 📺

As you can see from the photo, it starts from this... to "sexual violence" and "rape"

Secondly, soap operas are related to popular culture because pop-culture is used to describe soap operas’ successful formula (Hobson, 2003). Furthermore, soap operas are produced to reach fans’ satisfaction, and that is why the producers or creative workers need to create stories to impress viewers (Chawalitthada, 2018).


Soap operas have been the famous type of entertainment in Thailand for decades. It can be said that many TV production elements for Thai dramas provided important information for audiences to accept the protagonist’s or hero’s sexual violence, which is wrong since nobody should be okay with such behaviours.


When it comes to soap operas that present rape scenes, it increases audiences’ expectations of romance stories that can be offensive and disgusting in our real lives (Radway, 2009). According to Chawalitthada (2018), the hero and heroine have been popular role models for teenagers and young adults.


The audiences sympathised with the heroes who took responsibilities for his sexual violence and applauded the heroine as incredible models for her generosity, tolerance, and forgiveness.


Thai soap operas that are being aired create controversial issues in our society (Chawalitthada, 2018). Thai lakorns only have plots about daily life that are cliche and not construct a better society or cultural norms like Hollywood and Korean entertainment industries do. It typically reflects our society but does not illustrate any solutions.

The Case of Mia Jum Pen (Wife on Duty) and outrages on Twitter 📱

Amanda's Twitter on #NoMoreRapeOnScreen trending on Twitter Cr. The Thaiger

Afterwards, In February 2021, the hashtag #ข่มขืนผ่านจอพอกันที or #NoMoreRapeOnScreen became the fastest trending hashtag on Twitter with 275,000 tweets and another hashtag #BanMiaJumPen over 204,000 tweets. Even though we live in the digital era with many genres and positive-creative media-consuming choices, there was a drama called “Mia Jum Pen'' or “Wife on Duty'', which can be seen as a cliche soap.


In the scene, the rapist filmed when he assaulted a female character. In another scene, the victim, who had been hospitalised, was asked questions including; “how many times she was raped”. However, the most unbearable scene is when the show presents a male character’s reaction as “disgusting” with the rape victim when he knew his wife was raped. That is not even the female’s fault, and it seems as though victim-blaming.


Angry Twitter users accused soap opera creators of reinforcing rape culture and victim-blaming in Thailand since it is a country where women are regularly blamed for men sexually assaulting, violating and abusing them (Taylor, 2021). The case is “Amanda Obdam (Miss Universe Thailand 2020)”, who also raises awareness about rape cultures on Thai lakorns via her official Twitter.


Nevertheless, while others threw some tantrums towards the soap opera’s producer, she tried to state that “I want to show that being abused or kidnapped is scary. Consequently, women should learn how to be more aware and careful”.


Netizens blamed her for victim-blaming because instead of teaching women to protect themselves, it must educate the men appropriately to respect women. Finally, Thai lakorns have long used rape scenes in their plots and storylines.


It regularly involves the lead male and female roles, with the female slowly falling in love with her abuser. Many critics declared such depictions disregard rape, which remains to be a severe issue in Thai society. Those scenes imply that rape is somehow acceptable, which created a fault belief in society (Taylor, 2021).

The contrast of Thai and Western TV drama 🎞

Rape culture and media consumptions

On the contrary, in Europe, Western and other countries, “rape culture” is such a wrong stereotype to the audiences because it is absolutely wrong for men to force women and did not get any punishment. Instead, end up living happily with the woman the guy has raped.


When compared to Thai society, it will be entirely unacceptable for societies. Sexual abuse has long been and continues to be a serious problem in Thai society. Ironically, many TV dramas still include such scenes, often with the male lead assaulting female characters. Then they fall in love, in some way overlooking the violence portrayed earlier.


Even though currently it is 2021, many producers and TV stations are still repeatedly creating a remake drama (Taylor, 2021). The main differences are only the change of the actors, locations, and a little bit of adapting the script to make it related to nowadays society.


However, almost all of the remake drama still failed to adapt the content, script, and mindset of the characters in the drama since most of the original version of the drama was written a long time ago.


It is understandable that in the past, at that time, people still have an old mindset that was wrong and outdated (Thai PBS World, 2021). For instance, the idea of gender inequality that men are higher than women; men are always right. They tend to teach women to protect themselves from dangerous circumstances in their lives, such as rape and other sexual crimes, rather than educate men.


These things should already be extinct and should not exist, still prevalent in Thai TV drama, especially remake drama (Thai PBS World, 2021). Moreover, most Thai TV dramas contain many slap and kiss scenes, a love triangle, and a fight between the first wife and mistress.

Let's move to our collected surveys :) 📈


According to our surveys, we received responses from 14 participants on the topic of “opinions about Thai soap operas and rape cultures on screens”.

Collected surveys: age group

The vast majority is aged 18-24, 10 participants (71.4 per cent) and aged 25-34, 4 participants (28.6 per cent). We chose the age group between 25 and 34 because they had experienced when TV programmes were the only option to watch when they were young.


Currently, they are adults who get more choices with media consumption, so they are in the middle of two eras, and that is why their answers are in the middle and not given any strong answers.

This pie charts illustrate genders

About genders, our surveys have 9 females (64.3 per cent), 2 males (14.3 per cent) and 3 LGBTQ+ (21.4 per cent).

This pie charts depict occupations of participants

For occupations, 71.4 per cent (10 participants) is university students, 7.1 per cent (1 participant) for each office worker and self-employed and another 14.3 per cent (2 participants) for freelancers.


There was something wrong with the forms, and it duplicated "freelancer" and "university student". Luckily, the ones who chose "freelancer" chose the same option, so I did not have to summarise it again.

How often do they watch Thai lakorns.

The majority of participants have seldomly watched Thai dramas, 64.3 per cent (9 participants) and other frequencies of times including; usually, often, sometimes, occasionally, seldom are 7.1 per cent (only one person) each.

What genre(s) do they typically watch.

- The most popular genres they have watched are Hollywood and Western series (including; US Series, Italian, Spanish, German and many more that can be found on Netflix and/or HBO Go).

- The second genres are East Asian series such as Chinese, Japanese and Korean (K-Drama).

- Some participants watch both Asian and Western drama, series, and other genres depends on their moods, interests in plots/storylines, favourite genres, success (in critiques, reviews and box office) and peer recognition.

- However, from the stated examples on the questions, no one ever watches Bollywood (Indian) films or series and (Latin) Telenovelas.

P.S. Telenovelas means "soap opera" in Spanish, which is similar types to Thai lakorns. I have seen it on a Facebook page called "Funny or Die", and they uploaded some videos of "Telenovelas are hell". 🌚

Summary of our collected surveys 📊

Conclusion ;)

From some examples that we have collected from the responses, we would like to conclude the following statements:


Q: Is it alright to air rape scenes or media that present rape cultures on TV?

  • It states that rape is not okay neither in real life nor in the film, but it is okay for documentary only for educational purposes. However, what Thai media does is unacceptable since they have presented rape scenes as one type of entertainment. Some believe “rape culture should not be shown by media or anywhere”, another opinion is “sex should be accepted by everyone first. It should not be a force from just only one person or more in some cases”.

  • Nevertheless, the opposing side said, “yes, sometimes those scenes can encourage not to rape other people”.

Q: What is the main factor that makes audiences want to watch these (rape) scenes in Thai dramas?

  • The main factor that many Thais love to watch these rape scenes are because Thailand culturally based on a patriarchal culture and patriarchal society. Since most media consumers for the Thai series are women, they might still have a conservative mindset and not aware of how rape scenes are problematic.

  • Another argument declared as a human form; we have a sexual craving, in which some people cannot control it well enough or want to release it by watching these kinds of scenes, so that is why they continue to watch them.

Q: Do you agree or disagree when those rape scenes are being aired on TV?

  • Almost everyone said that there are no such romantic things in rape scenes, and some thought it was disgusting to watch.

  • Still, the opposing side said every film should have described in the overall description of its show by typing some warning messages, such as this movie contains some scenes that children should not watch them.

  • In comparison, some of them said that it depends on Thai soap opera creators’ and producers’ interpretations and purposes to create storylines and plots, which are participants’ between 25 to 34.

  • It can be said the age range of 18 to 24 have strong opinions that “rape is a crime” since it is unwillingly sex itself. It may be started when the generation raises awareness and realises these social issues by reading education contents on social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

Q: How can we change Thai lakorns in better ways?

  • Finally, it should start by just deleting this whole stereotype and bringing more diversity to the film (more diversities like Hollywood and Western series), or when we find something that is not fine, we should comment our thoughts to them as usual, so they can understand some facts and change them later.

  • Some disagree to disseminate media contents with rape scenes because rape scenes are examples to copy easily.

  • Some of them think it should change the idea of the violence of infidelity and rape scenes.

Solution ✍️

Last but not least, since rape culture, either in reality or as being portrayed on media, is diverse and massive, finding solutions is difficult. Male gender socialisation and media literacy must be taught at an early age, and efforts must be taken to address the root causes of abuse.


Members of the society can work to disrupt rape culture by finding out that rape jokes are not really funny, emailing artists and advertisers with allegations, and refusing to purchase certain products (Ekachai, 2013).


Women's civil rights are violated by sexual harassment and rape culture. Women's voices are suppressed due to men's supremacy in power positions (Women’s Center Marshall University, 2021). They are excluded from the civil rights debate, which continues patriarchal traditions in society. In rape culture, women are not considered human, and crimes committed against them are not considered human rights abuses.


The media normalises sexual harassment and perpetuates rape stereotypes. This is risky because the media has the power to disseminate these ideas to large groups of people. Women are often blamed for their own assaults and forced to deter them, while men are seldom kept responsible for their acts.


Rape culture is a civil rights issue that stems from patriarchal attitudes, public trivialisation of sexual abuse, and victim-blaming (Cusmano, 2018).


The Me Too Campaign, as well as the organisation like Cultures of Consent and EROC, are all taking incremental strides toward ending rape culture in society. To keep this process going, openness and communication are needed (UN Women, 2019). The inclusion of women in legislation on a global scale will be a significant step toward overcoming the patriarchal inequality that exists today.


The good thing is that people all over the world are discussing and understanding “rape culture”. Regardless of who has benefited from the culture and who would say that it does not exist, there is more opportunity for reform now than ever before. When every culture is to reform, the first step might be to speak about it.

Conclusion 😀

To sum up, this paper provides Thai soap operas, rape cultures and sexual violence aired on TV programmes. It has also mentioned Thai dramas’ objective, the example of Wife on Duty and outrage on Twitter after it was aired, the contrast of Thai dramas and Western series, interesting statistics on the collected surveys and solutions.

Thanks for reading my blog! 🙏


I sincerely apologise for any misunderstanding and error that may appear on my blog. I hope you gain more knowledge in what our group tried to communicate, interpretation and analysis. 😉

Mahidol University International College (MUIC), 
Mahidol University, Salaya Campus, Nakhon Pathom, Thailand 🇹🇭

Fine and Applied Art Division | Media and Communication 
Media Com MUIC, 628 Batch 3 🎞

ICMC 205: Media Psychology and Audience Analysis, 2nd Trimester of the academic year 2020-2021.
Lecturer: Ajarn Mon

All initials below credited to Future Creative Workers' 4 members.
1. JPK (Ja)
2. MKW (Mie)
3. GTA (Gus)
4. MCK (Mos)

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Published: 30 March 2021, 22.54 or 10.54 PM (BKK Time, GMT+7)

Updated: 1 April 2021, 12.12 PM (BKK Time, GMT+7)

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