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Battered wife swims to safety from abuse

A woman in Koh Kong yesterday lodged a complaint against her husband, who she said had tortured her repeatedly for several years.

Nong Neath, 37, said yesterday her husband, Seng Run, 42, had been violent towards her for five years, but that his cruelty on Wednesday night had been the final straw.

“My husband used a pestle to violate my sexual organ two times. I could not endure it, so I escaped when he fell asleep,” she said, adding that the constant maltreatment had her at her wits’ end.

Neath said that while her husband was asleep, she dived into the river that flowed beside her home in Khemarak Pumin town’s Stung Veng commune and swam to the local Adhoc office to file a complaint against her husband.

“For five years, I endured living with him, even though he beat me almost every day, strangled me and hit me with a knife,” she said.

Neang Boratino, the Adhoc co-ordinator in Koh Kong, said he had immediately filed a complaint to police on Neath’s behalf asking for her husband’s arrest.

The couple shared no children, Boratino said.

Stung Veng commune police chief Noth Sakhom said that after receiving the complaint, he had led an investigation at the victim’s house.

During questioning, however, the suspect asked to go to the yard to relieve himself and escaped.

Police are searching for him and will continue the investigation by talking with the couple's neighbours.

The investigation comes as the NGO Gender and Development for Cambodia partners with other NGOs and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs to raise awareness about violence against women through marches, public meetings and media events.

The campaign is part of an international White Ribbon initiative that runs from November 25 to December 10, and in which more than 60 countries are participating.

According to a GADC statement, in Cambodia: “Research indicates that one in five married women have suffered violence from their husbands; over 80 per cent of both men and women who were aware of violent acts towards women did nothing about it.”

A UNDP report released in 2010 in co-operation with the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Interior states that “in many cases, women may choose not to pursue legal action because they risk losing financial support for themselves and their children if a husband is imprisoned”.

The report adds that women may also fear retaliation for reporting domestic violence, and that many do not have adequate knowledge of their legal rights.

“Those who do decide to take legal action often face discriminatory judicial and legal systems that sympathise with men and too often emphasise reconciliation as the answer,” the report says.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sen David at david.sen@phnompenhpost.com
With assistance from Justine Drennan

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