Three hundred and fifty male activists gathered yesterday in Phnom Penh to discuss the importance of involving men in the prevention of gender-based violence.
The participants included members of the Cambodian Men’s Network, a group that works to eliminate violence against women, and representatives from the Ministry of Women’s Affairs.
“Violence against women will not be eradicated until men and boys refuse to tolerate it,” said Ros Sopheap, executive director of Gender and Development for Cambodia, a local NGO.
Sy Define, secretary of state at the Women’s Affairs Ministry, said data collected by the government and NGOs had shown a steady decline in violence against women. Still nearly one out of four women in Cambodia continue to experience domestic violence. “If we look at 2005 figures, 64 percent of women had experienced domestic violence. In 2009, that had reduced to 53 percent.
In 2010, it was down to 24 percent,” said a recent report by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs. Pen Tung, police chief of Pursat province’s Bakan district, said he had participated in training with the Cambodian Men’s Network on gender-based violence. “It has changed my attitude. If I know any man being violent to his wife, I will send the suspect to court and inform commune chiefs to educate them,” said Mr Tung.