This week will see a new piece of research shared with ethnic minority communities in the north-east of Cambodia. Gender-based Violence in Ethnic Minority Communities aims to further understanding of the types of gender-based violence women from ethnic minority communities are experiencing and document current practices of prevention, protection and response. A summary of the research findings will be shared with the Provincial Governor, government officials and other NGOS on March 17 at an event launching a new five-year project.
The research aimed to learn whether the experiences of women from ethnic minority communities in relation to violence differ from women in other areas of Cambodia. The study looked at sexual and physical violence, as well as economic and psychological violence.
Emotional violence such as yelling or saying derogatory things was mentioned by women as being common in the community. This is unsurprising given that the recent National Survey on Women’s Health and Life Experiences in Cambodia (WHO, 2015) found that almost 1 in 3 ever‐partnered women aged 15‐64 reported experiencing emotional abuse by an intimate partner in their life.
A recent gender analysis of some ethnic minority communities in Vietnam identified that women’s status and workload are influenced by gender norms and traditions. This in turn has an effect on women’s financial control at home, which is in turn connected to gender-based violence. Among ethnic minority communities in Ratanak Kiri, unequal division of labour was also identified as common with the burden on women being heavy.
During focus group discussions, women and men in Ratanak Kiri both identified small violence – which does not result in injury – as common and ongoing. This categorisation of different levels of severity of violence (small or non-serious and serious) is common across Cambodia. The Vietnamese study also identified that violence against women is often considered ‘normal’ in their targeted communities, indicating that small violence is generally accepted as ongoing both within and outside Cambodia’s borders.
Reports varied on whether there had been and increase or decrease in violence against women in Ratanak Kiri in recent years. However, it is clear that women are experiencing different forms of gender-based violence, traditional attitudes perpetuate violence, and victims have limited access to support and protections. A summary of these findings will be shared with workshop participants including government officials with the aim of raising awareness of this issue among duty bearers in Ratanak Kiri. This aims to promote awareness of unequal power dynamics and encourage improved gender equity.
This research was funded by the Patsy Collins Trust Fund Initiative.