The article “Teachers, students to march against short skirts” (March 25) brings a disturbing feeling to me. It is important to preserve our tradition and culture.
However, this preservation must be for both men and women, and it should not be forced on only one or the other.
In reality, there are almost no Khmer traditional dresses worn in public. If one walks along the streets of Phnom Penh, what one generally sees is a diversity of clothing for both men and women. Of course, there are several traditional dresses that are worn for official functions, mostly by women.
The views of the few students in the article reflect that it affects male students and teachers when female students wear short skirts. It brings out the lustful feelings of these men who cannot help themselves and cannot behave decently in an academic setting.
We are witnessing that women and girls are blamed for being raped and sexually harassed for the kind of place they decide to go, the kind of dresses they decide to wear and the length of those dresses.
Instead of calling for women to stop wearing short skirts, the Khmer Teachers Association could have marched against male perpetrators who rape women and girls, men who commit violence in the family, male teachers who sexually harass their students.
The bottom line is that we need to respect the choice and freedom of both men and women.
It is not acceptable for women and girls to be controlled and oppressed in any form in the name of preserving Khmer culture and tradition.
The Khmer Teachers Association could mobilise for other positive actions that will enhance the quality of education, which is the most important and real need for Cambodia today.