While data from human rights group Licadho shows that the number of rape cases reported across 13 provinces in the first five months of this year is similar to last year at 50, they had become more brutal, the NGO’s manager Am Sam Ath told The Post on Tuesday.
However, Sam Ath said the true figure may be higher as his organisation did not receive all data from across the country.
The crimes were becoming more and more brutal, like the recent rape in Preah Sihanouk province of a 10-year-old girl who was then murdered along with her two-year-old brother.
The suspect admitted to the horrific crimes, saying he was “intoxicated and went beserk”.
“As we have seen, the perpetrators when arrested by authorities were commonly involved with drugs and alcohol, which made them become more brutal and inhuman.”
With regard to the rape of women and girls by male relatives, Sam Ath said it was a result of deteriorating morality in Cambodian society.
“Drug and alcohol abuse has made perpetrators commit rape in a more brutal manner, while law enforcement by authorities is still not effective, leading, as before, to many rape cases."
“Some cases have been resolved out of court, which encourages people to commit such crimes,” Sam Ath said.
The remoteness of rural areas, where the number of authorities was small, also contributed as perpetrators had greater opportunities to escape.
Greater access to pornography with modern technology was also a factor, he added.
Sam Ath requested that the government cooperate with all relevant parties to publicise the issue and provide education to villages and communes, as well as further implement the village and commune safety policy.
Sar Sinet, the deputy director of the General Department of Social Development in charge of Legal Protection at the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, told The Post on Tuesday that the ministry was concerned over the rape and murder of women.
“Recently, there were cases of the rape and murder in Kampong Chhnang and Preah Sihanouk provinces, and they were very brutal,” Sinet said.
However, she dismissed Licadho’s opinion that such cases were becoming more common.
“I don’t want to challenge Licadho’s figures, but data which I collected from relevant departments shows the reality is not like this at all,” Sinet said.
She said she needed time to collect data from technical officers, but the Ministry of Women’s Affairs had long had preventive measures, including training at provincial departments and districts and communes.
“We have disseminated the law and the effects of rape in villages, communes and districts. We also have projects on social morality and valuing Cambodian women at all provincial departments of women’s affairs."
“We are gravely concerned that some rapes were so brutal and the victims were minors. We are also concerned over rape by relatives because it is often not seen from outside,” she said.