The exhibition, titled Social Power Exhibition against Sexual Assault, is part of the campaign #DontTellMeHowToDress, organized by the campaign founder Cindy Sirinya Bishop. Thailand’s answer to the #MeToo movement, the #DontTellMeHowToDress campaign, is an initiative led by local celebrities and activists to challenge social attitudes around sexual violence and the treatment of victims. The exhibition aims to challenge the notion that women’s appearance and behaviour are to blame when they are assaulted and asks audiences to question the acceptance of sexual violence by showcasing articles of clothing worn by victims at the time of their attack . The exhibition will also feature a photography exhibition of Thai celebrities, shot by Thailand’s forefront fashion photographer, Nat Prakobsantisuk., and other interactive elements to invite the audience to question the ideas that sexual violence is acceptable, shameful, that women are responsible, or should not be spoken about.
To challenge misconceptions around sexual assault, the #DontTellMeHowToDress campaign aims to debunk the myth that women should avoid dressing provocatively or exposing themselves to the risk of assault. It aims to bring sexual harassment and assault into a public discussion. This includes questioning the silence which does not hold perpetrators accountable for their actions and the common impulse to question the behaviour of the victim rather than the perpetrator of sexual violence.
“Sexual harassment and assault is a very big issue in our society, but it’s an issue no one really talks about,” said Bishop, a well-known model and actress and activist. “There are many myths, stereotypes and a culture of victim blaming when it comes to women who have been assaulted. Women who do report sexual harassment and violence tell us they need better support by friends, colleagues, families, and communities.”
“Respect is the most important key in exterminating sexual harassment and assault.” said Prakobsantisuk. “Respect others and respect yourself. Don’t blame anyoneelse or any other factors, such as clothes, for your lack of responsibility and self control. It’s a disgrace to your own humanity. This issue affects everyone regardless of race, age or gender. If we want to be a member of society, we have to learn to respect others.”
The Social Power Exhibition against Sexual Assault is the result of collaborative support from Cindy Sirinya Bishop, UN Women, Women and Men Progressive Movement Foundation Thailand, Thai Health Promotion Foundation, the Embassy of Canada, Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, artists and social activists Nat Prakobsantisuk, Chamnan Pakdeesuk and Jirawat Sriluansoi.
Thai celebrities associated with the project include Metinee Kingpayome, Lalita Panyopas, Sinjai Plengpanich, Treechada Petcharat, Vatanika Patamasingh, Panissara Phimpru, Davika Hoorne, Ranee Campen, Aniporn Chalermburanawong, Chutimon Chuengcharoensukying, Phillip Thinroj, Ananda Everingham, Pakin Kumwilaisuk, Nariporn Inkawat, Maynart Nantakwang Ann Mitrchai, and Kan Kantathavorn.
The exhibition will run from the 25 June to 1 July 2018 at the Siam Paragon and from 3 – 15 July at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre.