The gang rape phenomenon appears to have spread from Phnom Penh into the provinces, according to a study to be released Friday.
In a survey of motorbike taxi drivers who work in red-light districts, nearly two-thirds of 192 drivers interviewed said they had heard of the practice known as “bauk,” in which more than four men have sex with one woman, usually a prostitute, according to the “National Gang Rape Survey, Cambodia 2004,” produced by the NGO CARE International in Cambodia.
“We’ve heard about it in Phnom Penh; now we’ve got indications that it happens outside of Phnom Penh,” CARE Project Adviser Luke Bearup said Tuesday.
About half of all the motorbike taxi drivers interviewed heard about bauk from perpetrators, prostitutes or both. Only drivers in Mondolkiri and Oddar Meanchey had not heard of local incidences of the practice.
“It’s not normative for all of Cambodia,” Bearup said. But “among some groups, it is the Friday night activity.”
Of the eight motorbike taxi drivers interviewed in each of the 20 provinces and four cities, all eight in Kompong Cham, Preah Vihear and Sihanoukville said they had heard about bauk.
The majority of the drivers heard about it from their clients—prostitutes who would ask them to drive slowly while they recounted their experience or perpetrators who bragged about “last night,” researcher Tong Soprach said Tuesday.
“The perpetrators always say…it is not rape because they paid money already” for the prostitute, he said.
The report will be released Friday at Oxfam Hong Kong’s headquarters. The release will include a new documentary with interviews with gang rape victims, and the presentations of young people who attended a workshop this week on the subject of consensual and non-consensual sex.
Also released will be a CARE report with anecdotal evidence of violence against sex workers.