Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Arranged marriages not rape

Arranged marriages not rape

Arranged marriages not rape

Ray Johansen's assertion that rape was "commonplace" under KR is nonsense (Phnom Penh Post Feb 25-Mar 10, 2005).

The general perception was: "you do this, you die". This applied most strictly to KR cadres/soldiers as they were supposed to be versed in the Party's 12-article Code of Conduct. Not only was rape a serious crime, but also having sex outside marriage was also prohibited, rumored to carry the death penalty.

That said, like any society, occasional rape did happen, but it was not state-sanctioned conduct. The strict system in place - female mobile brigades chaired by women, daily self- and other-critiquing meetings etc. - restricted such conduct.

Forcing complete strangers to marry each other is well-spread unchecked rumor. It was not the Communist Party's policy/directions that people were forced to marry against their will. In fact, this was prohibited. But in practice, in some cases, pressure might have been exerted on an unwilling party.

The mass wedding, though, was implied in the policy on cutting material costs and time, which caused general unhappiness. Marrying war-handicapped with non-handicapped arguably could be called "forced marriage". But generally, and before the marriage, the non-handicapped were emotionally and ideologically trained to value the handicapped and their heroic sacrifices. People had to be convinced that the marriage was based on value and not on wealth and social status before the marriage occurred.

Case in point: PM Hun Sen and his wife Bun Rany. Without being convinced of his heroic and revolutionary values, the Sino-Rany's marriage, which took place in a mass wedding of 13 couples, to the half-blinded man was unlikely.

In the latter case, call it "forced" marriage if it makes one happy, or call it "arranged" marriage under the age-old Khmer tradition. Only the DK rationale was different. Traditionally, Khmer parents arranged marriage for the daughter's future. Under DK, the "forced" marriage was an ideological pursuit of social equality in that the most unfortunate were not to be overlooked or discriminated by the society

While I am no fan of forced/arranged marriage, such marriage is not a euphemism for rape.

Let's stop spreading unchecked rumors.

Bora Touch, Sydney, Australia

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh authorities ban march for Human Rights Day

    Phnom Penh authorities have banned a planned march as local NGOs and workers’ unions gear up to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on Monday, with a youth group leader saying they would march nonetheless. The UN

  • Government deports 235 Chinese scammers

    THE Immigration Department of the Ministry of Interior on Thursday deported 235 Chinese nationals, 35 of whom were female, via the Phnom Penh International Airport for their part in a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) online money extortion scam. The deportees were arrested on November 26 over the

  • Phnom Penh’s Jet’s Container Night Market shuts down

    The famous Jet’s Container Night Market in central Phnom Penh has shut down due to the high cost of the land rental, company representatives claim. Jet’s Container Night Market is the largest such market in Phnom Penh. It operated for just over two

  • International buyers snap up new locally produced watch

    A Cambodian entrepreneur has launched a stylish high-end watch, hoping to promote the Khmer creative talent and increase demand for the Kingdom’s products abroad. Designer Seth Pitu launched his brand PU a mere 60 days ago, and hopes to combine traditional Khmer art with sleek