MEN must lead the fight against domestic violence, a conference on gender equality heard Monday.
“Most often, violence is caused by men, so it is men who must put an end to violence by themselves,” said James Lang, coordinator of the United Nations Partners for Gender Violence Prevention and Gender Equality Boosting programme.
“Some good men do not even want to see other men committing violence at all.”
Lang was speaking at “Working with boys and men for gender equality and gender violence-prevention”, a regional meeting in Phnom Penh attended by delegations from 13 South and Southeast Asian countries.
However, it can be difficult to quantify occurrences of domestic violence or spot upward or downward trends in Cambodia. The violence frequently happens behind closed doors, with victims too afraid to publicise their stories, Lang said.
In order to curb domestic violence, society must view it as a problem for everyone – not just women, said Ros Sopheap, executive director of Gender and Development for Cambodia, a local NGO.
It is men, she said, who play the most important role in preventing domestic violence.
Ros Sopheap said research suggests domestic violence is on the upswing in Cambodia.
A 1996 national study, she said, suggested 16 percent of people had experienced domestic violence. A similar 2005 study suggested the percentage had risen to 25 percent.