Domestic violence is a pressing issue in Cambodia. Combating it requires an understanding of the social meanings behind it. As such, policy makers and planners need to start from a careful picture of the cultural terrain upon which this violence is played out. This will equip them to recognize potential points of entry for interventions. This article begins by exploring the relationship between social structures, culture and domestic violence in Cambodia. It then turns to the work of two Cambodian NGOs – Cambodian Women’s Crisis Centre (CWCC) and Project Against Domestic Violence (PADV). Their work is founded on both the cultural terrain of Cambodia, and international human rights standards.
The central research question presented is how best to provide assistance and support to both victims of trafficking and domestic violence which meets their individual and specific needs while taking into account the limited, and sometimes diminishing, resources available for these services. The study examines the various types of victim-centered services available in the region, those dedicated either to victims of DV or TIP and those where services for the two groups are mixed. Also considered is the extent to which these services are available and accessible to the two target groups. Of particular interest is how and where services may be mixed appropriately and where services should be distinct, as well as where additional services are required to meet the needs of victims of DV or TIP.
This study reviews the state of knowledge about the relationship between domestic violence (DV) and trafficking in persons (TIP). Sponsored by USAID, this desk review of the literature covering the countries of the Europe and Eurasia (E&E) region involved: (1) Examining the prevalence of trafficking victims with prior experience of domestic violence; (2) Describing services and supports that are available for victims of trafficking in persons in each country of the E&E region, highlighting those service providers and shelters that serve both populations or only one; and (3) Analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of victim protection programs that assist survivors of both trafficking in persons and domestic violence, exploring types of appropriate victim-centered responses needed to help survivors rebuild their lives, and best practices and lessons learned from domestic violence and trafficking in persons service providers/shelters that do or do not serve both populations.
Domestic Violence in Cambodian Marriages. In Gender-Based Violence (2007)
In recent decades, domestic violence has been increasingly recognized as both a social problem and an issue of human rights. In Cambodia, development discourse and programs have increasingly acknowledged the existence and widespread impact of domestic violence in both advocacy and applied interventions. Coming to terms with and addressing this violence is urgent. This, in turn, necessitates a finely tuned understanding of the interplay of social structures, culture and domestic violence. By locating the elements that promote and perpetrate domestic violence, we are better able to understand why and how this violence occurs, as well as how it can be targeted through interventions. In considering the work of two Cambodian NGOs, this chapter aims to identify key elements of successful domestic violence interventions in Cambodia.
Rape in Cambodia (available in German)
In Cambodia, research and interventions on rape are notably nonexistent. But from ethnographic data and personal accounts, it can be concluded that rape – or the fear of it – affects the lives of a large number of women in Cambodia to varying degrees. NGO research and interventions have responded to domestic violence and trafficking, but they are not specifically against rape: rape in marriage is treated as an aspect of domestic violence and rape by a stranger as a byproduct of trafficking in women for sexual exploitation. This article examines the complexity of sexuality and forced sexual relations in Cambodia to disentangle why rape has to date not been included in programmatic interventions. This article is available in German.
Rape & Sexual Transgression in Cambodian Society. In Violence Against Women in Asian Societies: Gender Inequality and Technologies of Violence (2002)
Both domestic violence and trafficking in women have gained increased attention of the international community in recent years, forming a significant subject in development and public discourse. Rape is an equally compelling manifestation of violence perpetrated against women. However, in Cambodia, where NGO research and interventions have responded to domestic violence and trafficking (and despite widespread assertions in the NGO community that rape represents a pervasive threat in the lives of Cambodian women), research and interventions on rape have been conspicuous in their absence. A closer look at the complexity of sexuality and forced sexual relations allows us to ascertain why rape has been avoided by programmatic interventions.