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Groups use festival as forum against violence

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Photo by:
HENG CHIVOAN

A team of visiting dragon boat racers parade down the riverfront on Tuesday ahead of the day's first events.

ANTI-DOMESTIC violence groups have taken their message to the streets this Water Festival, with hundreds of motodops and cyclos touring bustling Phnom Penh with T-shirts and hats promoting "happy families".

Local NGO group Project Against Domestic Violence (PADV) as well as Plan International have clad more than 500 drivers with their campaign's message, "happy family is our wish", with the aim of taking advantage of the millions of people who are expected to converge on the capital for this week's  festivities.

"I hope the millions of people who visit the water festival this year will see this message and will understand and stop domestic violence altogether," said PADV coordinator Chan Sareth.

She said that due to poverty and misunderstanding in rural Cambodia, more than 40 percent of women and children have suffered from domestic violence.

Vong Socheata, a 45-year-old villager from Kandal province who had traveled to Phnom Penh for the festival, said that as a victim of domestic violence herself, the campaign gave her hope.

"When my husband gets drunk, he always fights my children and me," Vong Socheata said.

"So I hope people see the message."

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