Evidence for young, male involvement in pre-meditated gang rapes on women (not only
commercial sex workers), has been provided by several research initiatives undertaken
on behalf of Population Services International, Gender and Development for Cambodia,
World Health Organisation, Womyn's Agenda for Change and CARE International in Cambodia.
Up until this point, all such research has been limited to Phnom Penh. The CARE International
study, Gang Rape: The Perspectives of Moto-Taxi-Drivers across Cambodia provides
a country wide rapid assessment on the extent of this human rights issue.
The Post article (July 30, 2004) neglected to clearly report the study findings.
A total of 24 assistant researchers conducted interviews with 192 moto-taxi-drivers
working in red-light and guest-house districts in 20 provinces and four cities across
Cambodia. This sample was chosen given their role in providing transport and the
fact that they had nothing to gain, or lose when asked if they had heard of instances
of gang rape.
The findings indicated that 61 percent of the moto-taxi drivers interviewed had heard
of local instances of gang rape. Of these, 50 percent had heard of an incident occurring
in the past two months. In all of Cambodia's major urban centres, only in two provinces
(Oudor Meanchey and Mondulkiri) had moto-taxi drivers not heard of a local instance
of gang rape. This survey clearly suggests that gang rape cannot be dismissed as
a Phnom Penh-only issue.
The Post article further stated that there is "no law clearly defining bauk
and no law to punish offenders". In Khmer slang, the word bauk is used to describe
multiple men having sex with one woman, the notion of consent is absent from this
In regard to the law, rape perpetrated by more than one man is clearly addressed
by article 5, adopted by the National Assembly on Dec 19, 2001 during the seventh
plenary session, second legislature. The article states that if rape is committed
by more than one perpetrator, the severity of sentencing is increased: "the
punishment to be applied shall be the imprisonment with labour of fifteen (15) to
twenty (20) years."
The survey was undertaken on behalf of the Playing Safe project, a CARE International
and Gender and Development for Cambodia initiative funded by the EU/UNFPA as part
of the Reproductive Health Initiative for Youth in Asia.
In addressing young men's sexual and reproductive health needs, we seek to promote
safe and responsible male sexual behaviour. Information about the youth centre and
educational/recreational activities is available at www.playsafe.info
Tong Soprach and Luke Bearup, researchers
Sharon Wilkinson, CARE Cambodia Country Director