The NGO This Life Cambodia is following up on its award-winning 2021 campaign to end violence against women and children with a new theme “Goodbye My Love”, which focuses on the role the entire community can play in eliminating violence and supporting women.
Following the completion of last year’s “Life is not a Game” campaign, the latest campaign is running from November 25 to December 10.
“Goodbye My Love” is the title of a mournful song which is sung from the perspective of a woman farewelling the man she loves, as she can no longer abide his abuse.
A music video made to accompany the song attracted nearly a million views in the first six days of the campaign.
This Life Cambodia executive director Billy Gorter said violence is a stark reality for many women in Cambodia.
“All forms of abuse, especially physical, are unacceptable. Unfortunately, statistics and studies show that domestic abuse is still very much normalised in Cambodian culture. Each and every one has a part to play in changing this reality. When communities stand together, they can effect change and cause large cultural shifts,” he added.
The organisation said a culture of blaming the victim is rooted in the minds of Cambodian women, noting that 66 per cent of Cambodians believe that victims of domestic violence should remain silent for the sake of their families.
“In our short educational video, we show abuse in many forms, including emotional, financial and physical abuse. All of these are unacceptable,” said a statement accompanying the video.
The goal of the campaign is not only to end physical violence, but also to halt financial and emotional exploitation.
The NGO said everyone has a duty to protect each other, especially their loved ones, and stop violence against women.
The central focus of this year’s campaign is an inspirational, three-minute short music video for “Goodbye My Love” that shows Cambodian communities rallying together to support women facing domestic abuse and to shun the perpetrators.
New lyrics were written for the famous old Khmer song of the same name.
The song was performed by Lim Rathserey, accompanying herself on guitar. The video stars actors drawn from the Phare Circus, with their powerful performances sure to elicit an emotional response.
In an encouraging comment, social media user Savada Duong responded to the video, saying: “I believe that this message will reach many Cambodians because the content of the video and the meaning of the song are very powerful. We have to dare to say goodbye! Great work from This Life Cambodia.”
Along with the video, the campaign features a variety of posts across social media which offer information, support and resources, as well as an invitation to women to share their experiences of abuse and give hope to women who may have experienced it, or still are.
“This campaign calls on all Cambodians to be citizens of change and become part of the solution to help prevent violence through supporting their family members, friends or neighbours should they be experiencing violence,” said Gorter.
“We want this campaign to raise the issue of domestic violence in a way that lets people know what they can do to help, while providing practical information and tools for women so they know where they can go to seek support,” he added.
“We are calling on everyone within our community to stand up and support women, rather than ignoring the issue,” he concluded.
Over the past four years, This Life Cambodia has been awarded several international awards for their interactive and integrated campaigns that have challenged societal norms and attitudes to violence against women in the country.
This year’s campaign highlights that it is time for communities to come together to support women against domestic violence. They must work together to provide the strength, love and support that women need to say goodbye.
In October, the organisation received international recognition from the MUSE Creative awards, the Dragons of Asia and the Global Good Awards for its domestic violence video campaign, “Life is Not a Game”, which was inspired by virtual reality.
“To win an award in this context is especially incredible. It reinforces the importance of the work we are doing to combat domestic violence in Cambodia,” said Chea Borani, head of This Life.
“We have always focused on the issue of domestic violence. There is still much to do and we continue our work in this field every day. Our creative campaign is just one part of this work,” she added.