More than 350 activist men will be highlighting the importance of men’s involvement in gender-based violence prevention at the Cambodian Men’s Network (CMN) Assembly tomorrow.
The assembly will provide a platform for men to share experiences, connect with international networks and strengthen cooperation between men committed to ending gender-based violence. The assembly is born out of the efforts of the CMN to increase the engagement of men to improve gender equality in Cambodia.
“Violence against women and children will not be eradicated until men and boys become effective and in a strategic manner, with the CMN assembly a great opportunity. The CMN’s actions pave the way to eradicate violence against women and bring more men together to take action,” explained Ros Sopheap, the Executive Director of Gender and Development for Cambodia, the NGO coordinating the CMN.
Identifying the need to better engage men in eliminating gender-based violence, the CMN was established in 2000 as a men’s advocacy network. Focusing on improving respect for women, changing gender stereotypes and supporting men’s advocacy for gender justice, the CMN quickly grew to the point where it’s now active throughout 12 provinces of Cambodia.
The annual CMN 16 Day White Ribbon Campaign has been one of its major projects, urging nation-wide action for improving gender equality, targeting issues such as domestic violence, harassment and human trafficking.
Membership continues to rapidly grow from the local to the national level, as the CMN expands activities to promote gender equality.
There are more than 20 per cent of women suffering from gender-based violence, 74 per cent of men who believe it’s reasonable to get angry with women if they don’t complete household duties and 45 per cent of local authorities believing a husband is justified in abusing his wife if she is argumentative or disrespectful, according to the USAID Gender Assessment 2010.
Sopheap believes the work of the CMN must be supported with urgent action in law enforcement and prevention efforts.
“ We require decisive measures in order to protect women from violence, to hold perpetrators accountable and provide justice and remedies to victims. We need to combat attitudes and behaviours that permit or even encourage violence.
“We must intensify prevention efforts so that some day we will no longer need to meet and call for ending violence against women. The CMN was highly influential throughout the drafting and establishment of the domestic violence law, but for real prevention, this law needs to be properly enforced by authorities.
“We hope the CMN assembly will be a turning point for the successful eradication of violence against women and children.”