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«GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE IN ETHNIC MINORITY COMMUNITIES Ratanak Kiri Province Robin Mauney August 2015 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This research was funded by the ...»

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CARE Cambodia



Ratanak Kiri Province

Robin Mauney

August 2015


This research was funded by the Patsy Collins Trust Fund Initiative

under CARE’s Bending Bamboo project. The contents of this research

can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the Patsy Collins

Trust Fund Initiative.

CARE would like to thank the Australian Government, the Patsy Collins Trust Fund Initiative and many other private donors for their support of CARE’s work with ethnic minorities in Cambodia.

CARE would also like to thank those who contributed their time to participate in this research.




1.1.1 CARE’s Women’s Empowerment Framework

1.1.2 CARE International in Cambodia




2.1.1 National Measures

2.1.2 International Measures













Harmful Practices

4.1.1 Intimate Partner Violence

4.1.2 4.1.3 Sexual Violence (partner and non-partner)


4.2.1 Prevention

Protection and Response

4.2.2 4.2.3 Social Services







–  –  –

CARE seeks to address social and cultural root issues that define women’s subservience and patriarchy through its

formulation of a Women’s Empowerment Framework, which is based on the combined effect of changes in:

• A woman’s own knowledge, skills, self-esteem, aspirations and abilities—known as agency.

• Societal norms, customs, institutions, laws and policies that shape her choices in life—structures.

• Power relationships, particularly close to home through which she negotiates her path—relations.1 1.1.2 CARE INTERNATIONAL IN CAMBODIA CARE International in Cambodia (CARE Cambodia) is in the process of transitioning from a project based way of working, to an impact focused, programmatic approach. This CARE International initiative, known as the Program Approach, strategically orients work around long terms programs designed to support impacts for identified marginalized and poor population groups, with research and analysis informing program design and implementation.

Based on analysis of trends around poverty and marginalization in Cambodia, CARE’s programming niche, and other

imperatives, CARE Cambodia has identified two long term programs. These are:

Socially Marginalised Women experiencing multiple denial of their rights

Two Sub-Impact Groups have been identified for this program:

• Urban women marginalised by occupation

• Rural women at risk of violence, and denied Sexual Reproductive health rights, and voice Ethnic Minority Women, who experience social isolation, discrimination and economic exclusion The Ethnic Minority Women program includes education projects that work on three main education sectors: multilingual early childhood development; multilingual primary education, including partnering with the Cambodian Consortium for Out of School Children; improving school governance; in lower secondary schools with a high percentage of ethnic minority students. By focusing on these sections CARE supports the government’s commitment to the Millennium Development Goals which includes lower secondary education and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs strategic plan Neary Rattanak IV which prioritises strategies to promote girls transition to secondary education as well.

1. Adapted from CARE Emerge Baseline Survey 2015

–  –  –

In recent years anecdotal evidence has emerged through reports from CARE staff, CARE consultants, local nongovernment organizations (NGO), various local authorities and some researchers, which seems to suggest that gender based violence (GBV) is on the rise in ethnic minority communities in the north east. Others argue that GBV has declined; even suggesting that NGOs exaggerate the occurrence of GBV to receive donor support.

In the design of the Ethnic Minority Women program one of the milestones is: GBV is socially unacceptable in ethnic minority communities. So far there has not been a study with reliable data on GBV in these communities.

1.2 OBJECTIVES The objectives of this study are to further the understanding of GBV in Ratanak Kiri province particularly in CARE’s

target communities to promote increased:

• Understanding of the types of GBV women are experiencing in different settings including domestic violence, harmful practices, economic exploitation, sexual harassment, rape, sexual exploitation, and other GBV.

• Understanding of prevalence and trends of GBV in different settings in each type of GBV identified.

• Understanding and documenting the communities current practices on prevention, protection and response to GBV.

• Make recommendations for CARE and other key stakeholders for targeting appropriate prevention.

–  –  –


• Cambodian Constitution enshrines the right of all Khmer citizens4 to life, personal freedom and security (Article 32), and guarantees there shall be no physical abuse of any individual (Article 38).

• The Law on Prevention of Domestic Violence and Protection of Victims establishes the responsibility of local authorities to intervene in cases of domestic violence and provides for protection orders to be issued by the courts to protect the victim from any further violence. This law permits mediation in non-criminal cases of violence against women which provides a legal framework for use of traditional justice mechanisms (see more detail below).

• Sexual harassment and indecent behavior in the workplace is prohibited by Article 172 of the Cambodian Labour Law.

• The Law on Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation establishes the law against kidnapping persons for labour or sexual exploitation.

• The Village Commune Safety Policy designates rape, domestic violence and anti-trafficking as priority areas for commune, municipal, district and provincial councils to address.

• The Civil Code was completed in 2006 and the Civil Procedure Code in 2007. The Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code were completed in 2010.

• The National Policy on Development of Indigenous Minorities (2009) establishes the priorities of the Government for indigenous peoples in the fields of culture, education, vocational training, health, environment, land, agriculture, water resources, infrastructure, justice, tourism and industry, mines and energy.

• The 2nd National Action Plan to Prevent Violence Against Women and girls was passed by the Council of Ministers in 2015 and identifies as a priority increased understanding of and improved response for women in religious and ethnic minorities experiencing GBV.


• Cambodia ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1992 and its Optional Protocol in 2010.

• In 1992, Cambodia ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and its optional protocols which sets out the basic human rights that boys and girls have, including the right to protection from all forms of physical and mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse (Article 19).

• Cambodia has ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which includes Article 6 specifically addressing women with disabilities, to respond to the multiple discriminations they face, as well as Article 16 addressing freedom from exploitation, violence and abuse.

• Cambodia ratified the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in 1983.

Cambodia has supported the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. Article 22.2 expresses that measures should be taken in conjunction with indigenous people to ensure that indigenous women enjoy full protection and guarantees against all forms of violence and discrimination.

3. See Ministry of Women’s Affairs (2014) Policy Brief 7: Violence Against Women and Girls. Cambodia Gender Assessment. Phnom Penh. Ministry of Women’s Affairs.

4. According to the Indigenous Peoples/Ethnic Minorities Report by the Asian Development Bank (2002) in the drafting of the current constitution the definition of Khmer citizen was debated and was defined to include indigenous peoples.

5. See Ministry of Women’s Affairs (2014) Policy Brief 7: Violence Against Women and Girls. Cambodia Gender Assessment. Phnom Penh. Ministry of Women’s Affairs.

4 Gender-Based Violence in Ethnic Minority Communities


Women in Cambodia experience multiple forms of violence including physical, sexual, psychological and economic violence in the home, the workplace and the community. Little data is available specifically on the experience of GBV

in indigenous communities however in Cambodia:

• The most recent prevalence data for spousal domestic violence6 in Cambodia is from the 2005 Cambodia Demographic Health Survey. This shows that 22.3 per cent of married women in Cambodia experience emotional, physical or sexual violence from a spouse (Ministry of Planning 2013).

• In 2013, the Partners for Prevention Study found that 35 per cent of ever-partnered men had used physical or sexual violence against an intimate partner; one fifth ever partnered men had perpetrated rape, most commonly against intimate partners but 8 per cent of all men interviewed had perpetrated rape against a non-partner (Fulu, et al. 2013).

• The same study interviewed 417 ever-partnered women and revealed that one in ten women had reported having experienced sexual partner violence or rape in their lifetime (Fulu, et al. 2013).

• A study for the International Labor Organization revealed that one in five women working in garment factories felt they had been sexually harassed or sexually humiliated (ILO 2012).

• The Cambodia Violence Against Children Survey (CVACS) showed that more than 50 per cent of both males and females had experienced at least one incident of physical violence prior to age 18 (Ministry of Women's Affairs 2014).

Currently, a national prevalence study is underway by Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MoWA), supported by UN Women, using the World Health Organization (WHO) standardized methodology that will provide updated data prevalence data on intimate partner violence and sexual violence in Cambodia. Additionally the Cambodia Demographic and Health Survey 2015 included a domestic violence module that will provide updated information on spousal violence. At the writing of the report, data from these two sources were not available.

2.3 ATTITUDES TOWARD GBV Relationships between gender and family norms, vulnerability to, and normalization of GBV create a cycle that increases the chances of GBV occurring and decreases the likelihood of sanctions, their severity and their effective invention (see Figure 2 overleaf).

• The Cambodia Gender Assessment summarises that violence against women is widely accepted and tolerated in Cambodia.

• The Cambodia Demographic and Health Survey 2010 reports that nearly half of women and one quarter of men aged 15-19 agree with at least one reason which justifies a man beating his wife (National Institute of Statistics 2010).

• The Cambodia Violence Against Children Survey showed that one in three females aged 18 to 24 believe it is acceptable for a husband to beat his wife under one or more circumstances (Ministry of Women's Affairs 2014).

• In the Partners for Prevention Study 32.8 per cent of women and 27 per cent of men agree there are times when a woman deserves to be beaten; 18 per cent of men and 21 per cent of women said that when a woman is raped she is usually to blame for putting herself in a vulnerable situation (Fulu, et al. 2013).

• The anthropological study Behind the Smile study found that in one Kreung community there is a general acceptance of violence as part of everyday life. It is seen as normal for parents to pinch or slap children and for husbands to slap their wives from time to time (Leth 2011).

• While perpetrators may continue their lives without social stigma, the victim (of rape) is marked as used and a worthless woman, a situation that leads to shame and guilt for women which can force them to keep the rape secret, marry the rapist, or leave the household to preserve the family reputation (Brown 2007).

• Violence against women and girls is perpetrated by traditional gender norms, and a variety of factors at the personal level such as lower education and childhood experience of violence (Minsitry of Women's Affairs 2014).

• Gender and Development Cambodia’s qualitative study revealed that men are expected to be the breadwinner, be superior to women and girls and dominate over women and be strong and brave (GADC 2010).

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