A GROUP of female police officers have filed a complaint with the Interior Ministry alledging multiple cases of sexual harrasment by Kampong Thom Provincial Police Chief Major General Ouk Kosal.
In their complaint, dated July 30, the women provincial police officers asked Interior Minister Sar Kheng to help them find justice and take action against Maj Gen Kosal.
The complaint said Maj Gen Kosal approached various female officers from different ranks demanding sex, while warning them they would face serious consequences if they told anyone.
The complaint also requested that Kheng investigate the allegations of female victims personally, to highlight the seriousness of the complaint and the damage caused to the women and their bodies by the Police Chief.
The group added that the actions of Maj Gen Kosal have seriously insulted the integrity of Cambodian women and the department’s professionalism.
Maj Gen Kosal could not be reached for comment.
General Khieu Sopheak, spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, yesterday told Khmer Times that the Ministry had received the complaint and officials in charge of personnel are currently investigating the allegations.
“We need to properly investigate the case first and not jump to conclusions. People should not make assumptions, we will investigate and in due course reach our decision,” he said.
The executive director of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, Chak Sopheap, yesterday told Khmer Times that she has high praise for the women who came forward to voice their grievances but is now concerned about their safety. She said she will personally follow up on any action in response to the complaint.
“This case also reflects other cases where women face harassment, shame or abuse while performing their duties,” she said. “It happens not only in the civil service sector, it happens in factories and in the private sector. I hope that the higher authorities will take action and provide justice by ensuring an immediate and positive response to all such cases.”
Sopheap said there is a common misconception in society that blames women for the actions of unwanted advances by men and that needs to change.