Editorial | Articles about Cambodia | Khmer

Friday, March 09, 2007

Excerpt from Violence Against Women in Cambodia 2006

Excerpt from Violence Against Women in Cambodia 2006

My name is Ly Viden, I am 18 years old. I was raped. This is my story.

I live with my aunty and my sisters in the village. We all work on the land farming and also in the rice fields.

One day, my sisters and I went to guard the cows at the rice fields near our house. We let the cows eat some grass and decided to have a rest whilst they were eating. Two of my sisters went to swim in a nearby pond and my other sister and I sat under a tree, watching the cows and talking to each other.

After half an hour, a man that I had not seen before, came up to me and asked him if I had seen his four cows. I told that him that I had not seen his cows and he should go and check the rice fields for himself. The man stayed and talked to me – he seemed very interested in me.

My two sisters, swimming in the pond, called to us and asked one of us to bring them something. I asked my other sister to go instead of me as I was still talking to the man. We watched my sister walk away and when she had reached the pond the man turned to me and hugged me. I was very shocked as I did not know him but all of a sudden he grabbed me and he dragged me to a nearby canal. I tried to scream for help, but he covered my mouth and he would not let go of me.

I kept trying to escape, but I could not get away from him. I was so scared. I tried to struggle but I couldn’t escape and in the end – the man raped me.

After it was over, the man ran away. I tried to get up and I tried to walk towards my sisters. I think I must have screamed because my sisters came running towards me. They kept asking me ‘what happened? what happened?’ but I could not tell them. I was too ashamed.

Finally they carried me home and I told my aunty what had happened. My aunty was very angry at the man and immediately went to the police station to report what had happened. My sisters made me wash and go to sleep but I could not sleep. I was too scared to be alone so one of my sisters stayed with me.

The next day the police arrested the man and later he was sent to prison. I felt a bit safer knowing that the man could not hurt me anymore and I would not have to see him again. But I still had trouble sleeping and I would not go anywhere by myself.

A few weeks after the man had gone to prison, my aunt received a visit from the local police and a strange man. I did not know why they had come to see her. After they left my aunt explained to me that the police had come with the father of the man who raped me. The father had offered to pay me compensation for his son raping me. However he would only pay me the money if I dropped my complaint against his son.

I was very confused and my aunt told me that it would be better to accept the money as the family was willing to pay lot of money, 4,000,000 riels ($1000 USD). I listened to my aunt and she talked to the police. After that, the man was released from prison and I have not seen him since then. The police came to give me my compensation, and in the end I only received $700 USD. My aunt said that the police had taken the rest of the money as a fee for organizing the payment.

I still feel very sad and angry about what happened. I feel confused about the money I received. On the one hand, it has allowed my sisters to go to school and I have been able to give my aunty some money to help her. But I think that I would feel better if the man who raped me was still in prison, so that I wouldn’t have to be scared anymore.

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