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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Letter: Rape and punishment

Letter: Rape and punishment

There is something that needs to be said about the recent article "A child rape

victim's small court victory".

The opinion expressed in the article,

that the defendant in this case got off lightly, is probably based on

comparisons with sentences given for similar cases in other countries,

particularly developed countries such as the United States.

However,

Cambodia is not the United States and there is no reason to assume that

sentences given in a Cambodian court should correspond with those given in a

similar case in another country.

The judge in this specific case knows

better than someone else what sentence is in line with the prevailing moral

climate and public

sentiment of Cambodian society. That is why he is a

judge.

It is wrong for some group such as Cambodian Women's Crisis Center

(CWCC) to presume to be a better judge than the judge.

For example, the

article challenges the relevance of the defense argument that the victim was

still a virgin after the rape. In traditional societies, rape is a crime

primarily because it robs an honorable woman of her virginity and therefore her

honor.

If virginity is not lost then the crime is nothing more than a

common assault.

The contrary opinion put forth in the article is just so

much American fem-speak. If it is true that the girl's virginity was left

intact, we should question even whether the event that occurred can be defined

as "rape".

Article 33 states that an attempt at rape is rape. This

statement is so logically convoluted as to do Bill Clinton proud and I would

hazard the guess that some American feminist helped in phrasing it.

It is

clear from this article that groups like the CWCC as well as the Phnom Penh Post

are intent on interfering in the judicial process.

Such interference in

the judicial process has been going on in western countries for decades and has

led to the typically much harsher sentences for sex crimes - harsher sentences

than what many people feel is reasonable, given the circumstances in some

cases.

Besides that, such interference has led to a complete distortion

of the definition of rape.

But now, judicial interference is beginning

to be recognized by many westerners for what it is. It is a way for interest

groups, primarily feminist interest groups, to achieve unpopular and unjust

results that they could not achieve through a democratic process that involves

an elected legislative body.

Despite the fact that the Executive

Director of CWCC, Chanthol Oung, is a Cambodian, this organization is obviously

a tentacle of American-based feminist activism.

With regard to the

sentence in the Socheat case, the punishment for any crime should cause

suffering to the perpetrator that is no greater than the suffering that was

caused to the victim. This is an intuitive and sensible approach to justice that

only the most unreasonable could deny.

The feminists who diverge from

this principle and push for more extreme sentences can only do so because they

are confident that the law will never apply to them.

Yes, she was 14 and

yes, he had a knife. On the other hand, she is still a virgin and she was not

seriously injured.

The current hysteria in developed countries over sex

crimes in general is the culmination of decades of feminist undemocratic

interference in the judicial process.

This is a process that has yet to

fully hit the small, undeveloped country of Cambodia and that is probably a good

thing. In fact it would be a good idea if the direction of influence were the

other way in this case. That is, it would be a good thing if some of the

radical, feminist-influenced, judicial activists in the United States and other

developed countries could learn a few things from the Cambodian system.

Kevin Charlebois, Bangkok

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