Physical, Sexual or Psychological Violence of Women or Girl in Cambodia
The United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women is protective of females of all ages. It defines violence against women as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.
In my opinion, if Cambodia becomes a fully democratic country, all kinds of violence and conflicts will be fade away like smoke into the air while every single citizen may enjoy and live happily with harmony and prosperity.
Turning to VAW, global efforts to prevent it have been fuelled by a contemporary ToC, developed in the west and applied globally. What is appealing about ToC is that, with an open learning approach, it is supposed to make these assumptions explicit, and to activate and support critical thinking throughout the program so that dynamic changes can be made in response to changes in contexts (Vogel 2012). Seldom, however, do agencies pause to consider whether the assumptions are appropriate in culturally diverse settings. This is probably because what people in a group believe to be true about the genesis of VAW can be summarised as ‘culture A engages in harmful traditional practices’ or ‘culture B champions male hegemony in which men can abuse women’ or ‘culture C teaches women that they have next-to-no human rights’ and ‘in a rapidly changing social-economic structure, men in culture D cannot cope with the increasing independence of women and therefore seek to control them through violence’. Armed with these sorts of assumptions, and with little debate, policy makers and program developers design initiatives to tackle the problem. The second seat at the table is cultural responsiveness in international development and evaluation. Chouinard is scathing in her criticism of international development evaluation for generally omitting culture ‘despite the recognition that evaluation is an intensely cultural practice’ (Chouinard 2016:237).
Of course, technological solutions alone will not solve the issue of domestic violence. Still, they do represent a small first step towards making Cambodian cities and homes safer for women.
Vogel, I. 2012 Review of the Use of ‘Theory of Change’ in International Development: Review Report. Report Commissioned by the UK Department for International Development. London: UK Department of International Development.
Chouinard J.A. Introduction: Decolonizing International Development Evaluation. Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation. 2016;30:237–247. doi:
Chowdhury E.H. Rethinking Patriarchy, Culture and Masculinity: Transnational Narratives of Gender Violence and Human Rights Advocacy. Journal of International Women’s Studies. 2014;12:79–100.
Ezard N. It’s Not Just the Alcohol: Gender, Alcohol Use, and Intimate Partner Violence in Mae La Refugee Camp, Thailand, 2009. Substance Use and Misuse. 2014
Farley M., Freed W., Phal K.S., Golding J. A Thorn in the Heart: Cambodian Men Who Buy Sex. Focus on Men Who Buy Sex: Discourage Men’s Demand for Prostitution, Stop Sex Trafficking. Phnom Penh: Cambodian Women’s Crisis Center and Prostitution Research & Education; 2012.