Pornographic videos and fear of HIV infection have caused rapes against children
to remain common, says Thav Kimsan, Child Rights Coordinator at Licadho.
"Our conclusions are not perfected but we have considered many aspects to find
the causes of rape. I think that for people in the poor rural communities, lack of
education and the messages in pornographic videos motivate some men to lose control,"
He said that lack of money to buy condoms, buying sex and the belief that sex with
virgin girls is good for a man's health and free of infection from HIV virus, were
all contributing to child rape.
In the first six months of this year, Licadho investigated 109 cases of rapes across
14 provinces, while Adhoc reported 153 rapes, 246 incidents of domestic violence
and 29 human trafficking offences involving children.
"I found that the majority of Cambodian children falling victim to rape were
under the age of 12 and they were vulnerable because they were from poor families,"
"I think that the statistics of rape, domestic violence and human trafficking
are expected to be higher, because Adhoc worked on the cases where other NGOs were
not involved," said Lim Mony head of the Women's Program for Adhoc.
Statistics from police and human rights groups have shown that around 75 percent
of rape victims are under the age of 18.
Mony said that the majority of victims lack support to help them bring their complaint
to the court for justice, adding that most cases were settled by the payment of a
small compensation by the perpetrator who often lived in the same village and was
known by the victim.
Both Adhoc and Licadho said police need to stop brokering out of court settlements
and work towards convictions in court to show that sexual assault has serious consequences.
Lim Mony also criticized the new coalition government formed between Cambodian Peoples
Party and Funcinpec, saying that while both have good programs on paper, they lacked
the political will to effectively reduce domestic violence and rape.