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United Nations: One Third of Cambodian Women Suffer Abuse

Mayuri Mei Lin​ / Khmer Times No Comments Share:

More than 30 percent of Cambodian women have experienced some form of domestic violence at the hands of their partner at some point in their lives, a report released on Friday by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) revealed.
According to the analysis, 30.8 percent of women have suffered some form of physical, sexual, emotional or economic violence brought on by their partner, be it a boyfriend, fiancé or husband.
Physical violence was the dominant form of abuse, with 20 percent of women having been kicked, beaten, slapped or choked by an intimate partner at least once in their life, with slapping being the most common abuse.
However, research also found that 10 percent of the women interviewed admitted to having been physically abused in the last 12 months, indicating a persistent nature to abusive households.
“Any time, any age group, about 10 percent of women are living with violence. Even in the oldest group of women, there is still 10 percent who are currently living with physical violence,” UNFPA international researcher Dr. Henriette Jansen said during the launch of the analysis on Friday.
Additionally, 50 percent of the women subjected to physical violence believe that the violence is justified.
Dr. Jansen’s research also found 60 percent of the men involved in abusive relationships were “drunk very often,” contributing to their abusive behavior against women. Yet research also showed that half of the women who were beaten by their partners often fought back.
“Half of the women who are beaten also beat their partners. The same women beaten by their partner also beat their partners, so it could be in self-defense,” Dr. Jansen said.
The number of husbands or partners perpetuating violence against women was also three times higher than the next highest group of purveyors of abuse, standing at 12.2 percent.
The second most common perpetrators of violence against women were mothers or step mothers, at 4.5 percent, “which could be disciplinary violence,” Dr. Jansen said.
Close to five percent of respondents also said that they were raped at least once in their lifetime by an intimate partner, while 25 percent said that they suffered some form of emotional violence at least once in their lifetime, including being humiliated in public by an intimate partner, being threatened with harm to her or her family or being insulted.
However, Dr. Jansen noted that there has been improvement in the protection of women in Cambodia compared with 10 years ago. “There are two positive messages. First, more women are talking. And second, the proportion currently living with violence is decreasing, which means women are better able at dealing with violence,” she said.
Nhean Sochetra, secretary-general of the Women’s Affairs Ministry’s secretariat for social development, who spoke on behalf of the ministry’s undersecretary of state Neang Chhayana, said, however, that following the release of Friday’s analysis, the ministry would still not be making any changes to its current “National Action Plan for Violence Against Women,” pending the completion of a mid-term review, which is scheduled to be completed in the next one to two months.
“We will continue to look at the provincial levels and we will make plans after we conduct the mid-term review,” she said on the sidelines of Friday’s event.
The report was a secondary analysis of domestic violence data from the Cambodia Demographic and Health Surveys of 2000, 2005 and 2014, which were conducted by the Planning Ministry’s National Institute of Statistics.

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