Urge Cambodian Officials to Address Widespread Sexual Violence

Target: Government of Cambodia

Goal: Address the widespread occurrence of sexual violence and urge lawmakers to protect Cambodia’s women

In a recent Asia-Pacific region survey, one in four men admitted to raping during their lifetime. Cambodia leads in cases of gang-rape occurrences, yet less than 20 gang-rape cases were prosecuted in 2012. In many cases of gang rape the victim was paid for sex, which many believe to be synonymous with consent. But Wenny Kusuma of the UN Women Cambodia unit points out that even if the woman involved consents to sex, that doesn’t necessarily mean she is consenting to gang rape. The perpetrators don’t believe it is rape because it is based on a transaction.

There is increasing recognition of the problem of sexual violence throughout Southeast Asia that simply demands to be tackled. In 2005, Cambodia enacted a law against domestic violence that saw a 15% reduction in violence in the home. Although there will always be a few in the population that violate law, Cambodia’s government needs to set a high standard for women’s safety and rights by enacting laws to protect them. While Southeast Asian culture carries a stigma against women trading sexual favors for profit, rape is still rape, even if a transaction is involved.

The government of Cambodia needs to propose laws to protect women from widespread rape and violence. And Cambodia’s court system needs to prosecute the cases put before them. By signing the petition below you will urge the government and judicial system of Cambodia to provide laws for safety and protection against sexual violence and increase prosecution of rape related cases.


Dear leaders of Cambodia,

In a recent Southeast Asian survey, one in four men admitted to raping during their lifetime. Most of the men who admitted to rape were in their late teens or early twenties. According to the survey, Cambodia is leading in rape related cases, particularly gang-rape occurrences. Yet in 2012 less than 20 gang-rape cases were prosecuted in Cambodia. In many cases the assailants paid the gang-rape victim, causing many people to believe that the act was not rape. In Cambodian culture among young men it has become popular to share sexual relations with one woman amongst one’s friends. What is unclear is whether or not the woman gives consent to multiple men during the encounter. Courts often do not prosecute when the victim is a prostitute or has engaged in prostitution. But even when a transaction takes place a victim is still a victim, regardless her profession or actions.

Southeast Asia is beginning to understand the widespread problem of sexual violence. The 2005 law passed in Cambodia against domestic violence saw a 15% reduction in home violence. The percentage would be higher if Cambodian courts would prosecute domestic violence crimes more often and thoroughly. But nonetheless a reduction in violent crime was noticeable. I urge the government and judicial systems of Cambodia to enact laws to protect women and rape victims and increase prosecution of sexual and domestic violence cases.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Asian Development Bank via Flickr

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101 Signatures

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