Young women pose for photos in a Christmas-themed tunnel lit-up with decorations outside a shopping mall in Bangkok on December 4, 2020.
(Mladen Antonov / AFP)
Suranit appears at a glance to be a well-adjusted young woman. She is happily married, has a two-year son, loves traveling, and runs her own small business in a quiet neighborhood in eastern Bangkok.Yet beneath her happy-go-lucky exterior, the Thai woman carries the trauma of sexual abuse. When she was 15, a neighbor of her family’s, a man in his 30s, repeatedly raped her.The man picked her up at school, threatened her with a knife, and took her to a love motel. He told Suranit that he would kill her and her family if she ever told anyone. The abuse finally came to light only because her parents noticed that she had become withdrawn and had blue marks around her arms where her abuser had grabbed her.The abuse took place several years ago, but Suranit still bears the scars of those violent encounters. She is HIV-positive and continues to have nightmares.