Statement

16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence

Cambodian Committee for Women (CAMBOW)

November 21, 2006 - Domestic violence in Cambodia is an insidious problem that physically, mentally and emotionally scars its victims. Cambodian society holds many moral and traditional cultural codes that enforce the belief that women should keep their family problems private. As a consequence, Cambodian women suffering from domestic violence will normally not discuss their problems with outside parties, believing that problems within the marriage should stay private.

The endemic problem of domestic violence in Cambodia will be the focus of the international 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence 2006. The campaign will be launched at a press conference organized by the Cambodian Committee of Women (CAMBOW). The press conference will be held at the offices of the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO), on Friday, 24 November 2006, at 10:00am

The 16 Days campaign is conducted each year in many countries around the world between November 25, International Day Against Violence Against Women, and December 10, International Human Rights Day. The 16-day period also highlights other significant dates including December 1, which is World AIDS Day, and December 6, which marks the anniversary of the 1989 Montreal Massacre where 14 women were murdered in a school shooting.

“One in every four Cambodian women is a victim of domestic violence and these women are extremely vulnerable and needs society to protect and assist them,” says Dr. Kek Galabru, President of LICADHO. During the 2006 campaign, CAMBOW aims to educate the public about important provisions in the Law on the Prevention of Domestic Violence and the Protection of Victims. In order to create awareness amongst general society that domestic violence is a serious issue, and that it should not be considered a private matter, but rather, the responsibility of Cambodian society.

Cambodian women who suffer domestic violence at the hands of their husbands, endure physical, sexual, verbal and emotional abuse. The alarming level of tolerance in society towards domestic violence is clearly illustrated by cultural beliefs such as the assumption that domestic violence is an “internal family problem” and as a result police and court officials are reluctant to interfere.

"People need to change their attitudes towards domestic violence and victims of domestic violence - we need to see this change inside the Cambodian family, society and government authorities," says Dr. Galabru.
"Everyone must take responsibility for this serious problem, as it is not an internal matter, it is an issue that affects the fundamental human right to safety of many Cambodian women," continued Dr. Galabru.

During the campaign, CAMBOW will conduct the following activities:

- Broadcasting radio spots educating people about the domestic violence law and the need for society to take responsibility.
- Broadcasting a film, that will play several television spots that educate people about the domestic violence law, in Kompong Cham, Kompong Thom, Kompong Speu and Pursat.
- Distributing calendars to the public with the message that domestic violence is unlawful.
- Displaying 15 banners in Phnom Penh with messages that domestic violence is the responsibility of society in general, and not only of the individual.

Press Conference Details
Date: Friday, 24 November 2006
Time: 10:00am
Location: LICADHO, #16, Street 99, Boeng Trabek, Phnom Penh

Media are invited to attend.

The Cambodian Committee of Women (CAMBOW) is a coalition of 36 Cambodian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that focuses primarily on advancing the cause of women. Through its activities, CAMBOW endeavors to raise awareness and change social norms on issues related to violence against women, focusing on the issues of rape, domestic violence and human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation.

For more information, please contact:
▪ Dr. Kek Galabru, President of LICADHO at 012 940 645 (contact@licadho.org)
▪ Mrs. Ros Sopheap, Director of GAD at 012 627 857
▪ Mrs. Hor Phally, Director of PADV at 012 838 721
▪ Mrs. Lim Mony, Women’s Project Coordinator ADHOC at 012 834 449

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