Cambodia: The Womens Shelter Director


2006-03-31
Share

Ung Chanthol , 39, is director of the Cambodian Women’s Crisis Center in Phnom Penh, launched in 1997 to help women victims of rape, domestic violence, and the sex trade. Her organization currently offers shelters, vocational training, and assistance to around 2,000 women victimized by violence every year.

Female figure at Cambodia's Angkor Thom. Photo: Atif Gulzar

I still remember some women beaten by their husbands who ran out of their houses and cried for help from the neighbors. But the neighbors said they were afraid of the violent husbands, and no-one would help them,

With a masters degree in International Human Rights from a university in Hong Kong, Ung is studying on top of working fulltime to gain another masters degree in management. She spoke to RFA’s Khmer service about her work:

"After the war, we did not have any services to help women. During the war as well as after the war, lots of women became victims of violence in the family, rape, battery, and the sex industry. I still remember some women beaten by their husbands who ran out of their houses and cried for help from the neighbors. But the neighbors said they were afraid of the violent husbands, and no-one would help them…"

"There’s a program to temporarily shelter women and to help them psychologically. We provide them with medical services, with job-seeking assistance, with lawyers, and with community training so that the community knows how to get united so to defend itself from violence…"

"In court, some victims are afraid to talk about their cases and sometimes after filing their complaints, they settle out of court, as in rape cases. On the other hand, the organization or people working with victimized women always face threats from suspects or other parties such as violent husbands."

"And another instance, there always is a delay in courts where each case takes at least two years to settle. And in rape cases, we always have a problem due to lack of modern techniques to investigate the suspects."

"In divorce cases, court verdicts say that people can have a divorce, can share half of their common property, and can have the right to alimony, but 99 percent of men do not meet their responsibilities in paying alimony [or child support]..."

Original reporting by RFA's Khmer service. Edited for the Web by Luisetta Mudie. Please continue to send contributions to RFA's Women in Their Own Words project to women@rfa.org .

Comments (0)

View all comments.

Add comment

Add your comment by filling out the form below in plain text. Comments are approved by a moderator and can be edited in accordance with RFAs Terms of Use. Comments will not appear in real time. RFA is not responsible for the content of the postings. Please, be respectful of others' point of view and stick to the facts.

View Full Site