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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Rape, KR and psychobabble

Rape, KR and psychobabble

Those who have been working in Cambodia for more than six months have

generally become accustomed to hearing and reading a fair amount of nonsense spoken

about social issues, history, etc.

The article written by Leakhena Nou (July 18-31, What motivates Khmer youth to gang-rape?)

just about tops the lot.

Some have already suggested that gang-rape can somehow be attributed to the DK regime.

These youngsters were yet to be born before the DK was chased out of town.

It is really not logical to attribute every example of anti-social, violent or illegal

behavior to the Khmer Rouge. If the DK was the source of all evil in Cambodia, from

where or whom did its own brutality originate?

Such behavior as rape exists to a greater or lesser degree in all societies. The

only odd thing about this phenomenon is that it is not viewed as deviant, illegal,

anti-social, shameful or violent. The kids who partake see it as a form of entertainment,

as an equal alternative to playing video games or singing karaoke.

For Leakhena Nou to suggest that this can be explained away as a stress relieving

reaction is absolute psycho-babble. Students at high school represent the elite of

Cambodia. Best employment prospects, most money, highest education (around half of

all kids don't even make it through primary school). These kids are not somehow to

be pitied for their bad lot in life.

How come other kids under much greater stress and deprivation are not gang-raping

girls on a Friday night? I lived in Pursat for two years and don't recall a single


Boys and men in Thailand have always used sex-workers for sex, before and during

marriage. I have never heard them say they do it to relieve stress, nor have I heard

that it is common to extend this activity to gang-rape. They go to sex-workers for

sex, not to rape for entertainment.

I do not see any connection at all between this appalling exhibition of abuse, exploitation

and violence either with Pol Pot or the so-called stress of being a student.

This is the behavior of arrogant, insensitive, mindless Neanderthals (who have no

positive role models since unfortunately there are none around), and who need a bit

of a wake-up call on what it is to be human, and how to conduct relationships without

the exciting ingredients of abuse and torture.

If we choose to read the history books, we can see that abuse by the wealthy (and

comparatively powerful) classes of the poor (and comparatively weak) was common long

before DK came to town.

Those attitudes more likely come from a feeling of omnipotence in an atmosphere of

total freedom without any guiding principles. The victims, on the other hand, give

in to it because of their feeling of impotence in an atmosphere of total enslavement

bereft of alternatives.

- David Hayter - Phnom Penh



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