Couple Forced to Have Sex, Tribunal Hears

A woman and her new husband were physically forced to consummate their marriage by a group of militia men who barged into their house just hours after a mass wedding ceremony, the woman told the Khmer Rouge tribunal on Friday.

Testifying as part of proceedings related to forced marriage, civil party Mom Vun, now 67, said she and her husband, Im Thim, were made to marry alongside 59 other couples in 1975. But rather than consummate their marriage after the event—as demanded by the Khmer Rouge—they decided to fake it.

“We agreed that we should pretend to go along with one another and then later, if we disagreed, then we could go separate ways,” Ms. Vun said.

“However, the militia people could hear us,” she continued, explaining that the men then entered their house and took control of the situation.

“We had no choice but to take off our clothes, but then I still refused to consummate the marriage,” she said. “They threatened us again and…they actually got hold of his penis to insert it.”

“It was so disgusting.”

Ms. Vun also testified that just two days earlier, she had faced another horrific assault. A group of five “comrades” called her to a rice storeroom and told her that she was to be married off to a stranger. One of the men then held a gun to her head as they all took turns raping her until she could barely walk.

“I was ashamed to say anything about it and I want to say it now because I want to tell everyone, to tell the world, how I was mistreated during that time,” she said.

On the day of the wedding ceremony, men and women stood weeping as three Khmer Rouge officials arrived, ordered them to sit in rows on the floor, and began matching couples by reading out their names, Ms. Vun said.

The couples were then ordered to make vows that included prom­ising to “produce more children in order to serve in the revolutionary army for Angkar,” she said.

Only months before the ceremony, Ms. Vun said, the man she married in her teens—and who fathered eight of her children—failed to return from a “re-education” session that he was sent to after drunkenly admitting to being a former soldier of the U.S.-backed Lon Nol regime.

Ms. Vun said she gave birth to three sets of twins after the forced marriage, but that one pair later died. She divorced her husband in 1984.

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