On 24th September 2013, I joined “Women’s Hearing with the Young Generation” organized by CDP (Cambodian Defender Project), TPO (Transcultural Psychosocial Organisation Cambodia) and VSS (Victim Support Section), ECCC/Khmer Rouge Tribunal. The purposes of this conference are, firstly, to break the silence and to raise awareness among young generation through public testimonies of gender-based violence survivors of the Khmer Rouge Regime and secondly a public statement of student panel to acknowledge victims and to call for support.
Four victims have been invited to share public testimonies among young generation. As reported, many sexual violence cases have been committed cruelly not only by Khmer rouge soldiers but also the victim’s husband.
Do you believe that on the first night of the marriage, a bride has been raped by a groom while three guys holding guns were standing next to the bride and groom’s bed? If you were lady who were raped and who suffered serious sexual harassment, would you report your case to other or authority to punish the criminal(s)? What shall you do if your report will cause your whole family die with you? To remain silent and let the criminal(s) not to be punished are the best choices during that period.
That regime, your whole family and you will be executed because of one word. To remain silent is the best options. First of all, the victim will be survived. Some victim girls have reported their cases to other people and authority to punish the criminal(s). At night after reporting, those victims have been called to leave home. Most of them didn’t come back till today. Secondly, the whole family will not be executed. Khmer rouge policy is not allowed to have sexual relationship before marriage. If they know, the two people will be taken to execute immediately. Sometimes, they were nude and run in the village first before they were sent to the jungle to be killed. Even though the chief of cooperative has known that his lower people raped, there is no report from the villagers that those lowers have been killed also. However, it is the victim’s family herself who are in danger. At last, all could stay together. In daytime, the victim girl is working at the field while at night for few hours; she will become an instrument for men to play. Then, she can come back home to become a wife, a mother, or a lady as normal. In short, to be brave during that period is not the best option.
I’ve learned that victims really need support from their lovers in order to have a wonderful family as same as other. It is really hard for them to tell their stories to other especially young people. After ECCC has been established, the memory has become real. It is the right time to break the silent.
Thanks for your reading. 🙂
Chamna Mao (Jasmina Mao)
Date: 25 September 2013