A baseline survey (MoWA, et. at, 2005) reveals that 22.5% of married women experience violence in Cambodia. For victims, the feelings of shame and guilt can be extreme. According to a Cambodian proverb, “man is a gold coin, and woman a piece of cloth”. A gold coin can fall in the mud, it remains a gold coin, whereas a stained cloth remains stained forever. A prostitute, a raped woman, a widow is not this virgin cloth anymore. But a man, either he is a criminal or he is cheating on his wife, remains a gold coin. For women victims of violence, returning home brings not only the fear about their relationship with their husbands or other family members, but the prospect of gossip from neighbors and others in the community. They may be accused of provoking or causing their own misfortune, they may even believe that themselves.
The overall objective of our idea is to combat violence against women and children and to protect them against all forms of discrimination in 10 Cambodian provinces.
Specific objectives are:
-To fight the culture of impunity benefiting to perpetrators of domestic violence, rape and trafficking,
-To increase awareness at community level and among local authorities about women’s human rights and a greater enforcement of national legislation related to the international Convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women,
-To facilitate greater access for victims and women-at-risk of gender-based violence to adequate protection services and to both legal and emergency assistance
-To ensure victims’ reintegration in society and prevent any discrimination against them
The project focuses on monitoring, investigation and intervention in case of gender-based violence by providing victims with legal aid, emergency assistance, counseling and legal representation, and by defending victims at court. It is also seeking close cooperation with other Human Rights NGOs, stakeholders, interested groups and local authorities in order to bring offenders to face justice, to follow up the victims’ reintegration, to render justice to victims and to reduce the culture of the impunity that will continue to prevail throughout the country if no strict measure is taken.
1. Monitoring, investigation and intervention:
These activities include:
Collecting information and receiving complaints related to domestic violence, rape and trafficking;
Providing information to victims about legal defense, investigation and action to take;
Assisting victims to write complaints, petitions or letters of intervention to government agencies involved for adequate action;
Cooperating with the police and court officials to rescue and release victims, and mainly to arrest and prosecute perpetrators;
Following up action taken by authorities in terms of intervention and victims’ reintegration (linkage with existing structures in the community, such as schools, community associations, local NGOs and local authorities);
Providing victims with legal and emergency assistance, helping them to return to their village, or offering them the opportunity to go to a shelter or a vocational training center;
Promoting and maintaining close relationships with NGOs, local authorities and other stakeholders for rescuing victims and prosecuting of perpetrators.
2. Training on “Prevention of discrimination against victims of gender-based violence”
The training aims at raising awareness of people, both men and women on all forms of discrimination against victims of gender-based violence, their root causes and negative impacts on women's rights. The training courses provide deep knowledge and understanding of gender, women’s human rights and CEDAW convention. The most important is to encourage victims to voice their concerns and to draw the government’s attention on the need to take appropriate measures. A participatory approach will be adopted to bring together community members, especially women, and local government officials.