A 17-year-old girl died yesterday morning at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital in Phnom Penh after attempting suicide on Sunday because her engagement had been called off after she was raped – allegedly at the hands of her father – her family said.
At a small funeral ceremony yesterday – attended only by the victim’s mother, grandmother and relatives of her ex-fiance – the family expressed regret and confusion at the young girl’s suicide and, in the case of her mother, even at the circumstances surrounding her alleged rape by her biological father, suspect Sok Bunrith, 37, a policeman who worked at Kandal Provincial Prison.
“I feel surprised and sorry that it came to the point of the father raping his own daughter. Even so, we have to wait, and I haven’t accused either side yet,” said the girl’s mother, who asked to be identified only as Kunthea.
“I feel angry with the father and, if it is true, I am willing to let my husband go to jail,” she added, noting that it was the victim’s biological father – from whom Kunthea is separated – who was suspected in the rape.
Sok Bunthorn, 58 – the victim’s grandmother and the suspect’s mother – said that she too was confused by the allegations.
“In this case, I do not know what is true because my son works as a police officer, and he always criticises men who rape women, but when this happened I did not understand,” she said.
According to Kunthea, the death came just as the victim’s health seemed to be improving after an overdose, with the girl regaining consciousness and speaking on Monday.
The girl’s ex-fiance, Nop Eysan, said he had tried to brings charges against Bunrith before.
“We had been engaged in December 2012, but it was broken off because her father raped her. I planned to sue the biological father, but he told me not to and asked to settle,” only to escape later, he said, noting that his earlier accusations aimed at Kunthea’s current partner were misinformed.
Dangkor district police chief Yim Saran said police are still looking for the suspect.