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Speaking out against violence

Both Sophea and her husband, Sokhy, are farmers. While their two daughters Chhoamyong and Chakriya go to school, Sophea and Sokhy work in the field growing longan fruits or cassava, depending on the season. When Sokhy returns from a long day in the field, he is often exhausted and in a bad mood. In the past, he would sometimes erupt into violent outbursts against his family.

“I didn’t know how to solve it, I didn’t speak out about it. When there was violence, I stayed quiet”, Sophea recalls.

Her experience is, unfortunately, not unique. Violence against women is one of the most pervasive human rights violations in Cambodia. A 2015 World Health Organization survey found that one in five ever-partnered Cambodian women had experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner. The UN Multi-Country Study on Men and Violence, carried out in 2013 by Partners for Prevention and the UN, found that more than one in five men aged 18-49 in Cambodia admitted to having raped a woman. Despite these alarming figures, 75 percent of women in Cambodia believe that wives should remain silent if they suffer from domestic violence, in order to keep their family together. 

This story was originally published by UN Joint Programme Partners for Prevention. Read the full text.

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