COUNSELING & REINTEGRATION
In Cambodia, an old adage enjoys popular currency. "Women are like cloth and men are like gold," it claims, meaning that once cloth is soiled, it ought to be thrown away for it cannot be cleaned. Tragically, this chauvinistic attitude still reigns, hovering oppressively over the hopes and dreams of an entire nation’s female population. Domestic violence is perhaps the most common consequence of this toxic ideology, afflicting approximately one in four women—the vast majority of whom have nowhere to turn.
Sex trafficking and rape land tens of thousands of girls and women in a devastating predicament. Women are perceived as commodities, and not all commodities are equal: sex with young women and girls is believed to boost virility and health, placing the most vulnerable first in line for mistreatment at the hands of traffickers, neighbors, teachers, brothers and fathers. A young victim of rape will often find her trauma compounded by the actions of her family. Virginity is highly prized in a bride, and parents will sometimes resolve the problem of an unchaste, unmarried daughter by demanding that the rapist marry the girl himself.
The LO-supported counseling and reintegration project provides a safe haven for victims of violence. Guaranteed physical protection and emotional support provide patients the sanctuary needed for recovery. At our shelter in Sisophon, near the Thai border, they are welcome to stay for up to one year, during which time they have access to individual and group counseling, literacy courses, vocational training, life skills classes, legal services and reintegration assistance. Women are encouraged to retake control of their lives - to shed their sense shame and see themselves as survivors, rather than victims.
Partner: Cambodian Women's Crisis Center
Supported by: Dining for Women, GlobalGiving Foundation