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Abuse of women rises amid Covid pandemic

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A poster used as part of the World 16 Day Campaign Event to call for the stop on violence against women. Women Affairs Ministry

Abuse of women rises amid Covid pandemic

The Cambodia Centre for Human Rights (CCHR) published a report on December 6 claiming that one in five women in Cambodia had suffered violence from partners, family members, colleagues, acquaintances or public officials, and the rate of incidence has risen during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The report analysed gender-based violence, which it said occurs predominantly against women and is rooted in gender inequality, abuse of power and harmful cultural norms. Most incidents of violence against women involved domestic abuse, sexual assaults and human trafficking.

“On this important occasion, the CCHR urges the government to fulfill its obligation of promoting, protecting and respecting human rights across the country, especially taking measures to protect women’s rights and promote gender equality,” the report said.

CCHR executive director Chak Sopheap was critical of the current situation, telling The Post on December 8 that she wanted government officials to take concrete actions to promote women’s rights in society and implement measures to eliminate discrimination and use of violence against women in all forms.

“We know that when it comes to women’s rights, there is, everywhere, an insufficient commitment to acknowledging the value of women. Obviously, women continue to suffer from all manners of violence.

“In the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, even without a comprehensive report, we see that there seems to have been a turning point – more women face increasing violence because so many of them work at home rather than outside,” she said.

Ministry of Women’s Affairs spokesperson Man Chenda did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

A 2015 survey by the ministry found that 21 per cent of women reported having experienced physical or sexual violence from an intimate partner at least once.

Twenty per cent of respondents said their first sexual experience involved some form of coercion, with 49 per cent of these women not having previously reported any violence, citing fear or embarrassment or believing that it was normal as the reasons.

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