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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Child rape cases alarmingly frequent

Child rape cases alarmingly frequent

Pornographic videos and fear of HIV infection have caused rapes against children

to remain common, says Thav Kimsan, Child Rights Coordinator at Licadho.

"Our conclusions are not perfected but we have considered many aspects to find

the causes of rape. I think that for people in the poor rural communities, lack of

education and the messages in pornographic videos motivate some men to lose control,"

said Kimsan.

He said that lack of money to buy condoms, buying sex and the belief that sex with

virgin girls is good for a man's health and free of infection from HIV virus, were

all contributing to child rape.

In the first six months of this year, Licadho investigated 109 cases of rapes across

14 provinces, while Adhoc reported 153 rapes, 246 incidents of domestic violence

and 29 human trafficking offences involving children.

"I found that the majority of Cambodian children falling victim to rape were

under the age of 12 and they were vulnerable because they were from poor families,"

said Kimsan.

"I think that the statistics of rape, domestic violence and human trafficking

are expected to be higher, because Adhoc worked on the cases where other NGOs were

not involved," said Lim Mony head of the Women's Program for Adhoc.

Statistics from police and human rights groups have shown that around 75 percent

of rape victims are under the age of 18.

Mony said that the majority of victims lack support to help them bring their complaint

to the court for justice, adding that most cases were settled by the payment of a

small compensation by the perpetrator who often lived in the same village and was

known by the victim.

Both Adhoc and Licadho said police need to stop brokering out of court settlements

and work towards convictions in court to show that sexual assault has serious consequences.

Lim Mony also criticized the new coalition government formed between Cambodian Peoples

Party and Funcinpec, saying that while both have good programs on paper, they lacked

the political will to effectively reduce domestic violence and rape.

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