Call To End Violence Against Women

A united call for the Government to tackle the prevalence of domestic violence and sexual assault against women across Cambodia has been launched this month.

The move comes after a series of reports were released highlighting that gender violence continues to be a problem across The Kingdom. A study by Partners for Prevention revealed almost 20 percent of men interviewed admitted to having used physical violence against a female partner. An additional more than 20 percent admitted to having perpetrated sexual violence.

In the first six months of 2013, the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO) received almost 100 complaints of domestic violence and investigated more 40 cases of rape.

The campaigners, which include activists from Boeung Kak Lake Community and People’s Action for Change, add that an increase in public violence has seen authorities violently targeting women leading and taking part in peaceful protests.

Yorm Bopha, a land activist from the Boeung Kak community who was recently released on bail after serving more than 14 months in prison, says, “There is a double standard here, when the authorities use violence against us, the perpetrators do not face justice. Yet they imprison female activists with no evidence at all.”

The call to the Government comes as part of the international Sixteen Days of Activism to End gender Violence, which runs until Dec. 10. They want to see the end of the use of excessive force against women as they exercise their rights to engage in legitimate protests and strike action.

“The connection between violence in the public sphere and violence in the private sphere cannot be ignored,” says Naly Pilorge, director of LICADHO. “It is not surprising that Cambodia has such high levels of violence against women, when the authorities themselves use violence with impunity.”