Gender Based Violence Program
- May 8, 2017
Gender-based Violence (GBV) remains a daily reality for Cambodian women with the country ranking 138 out of 186 countries in the 2013 Gender Inequality Index – one of the lowest rankings in the region. While GBV policy frameworks have been strengthened, implementation is uneven and poorly monitored, largely due to ineffective institutional arrangements at all levels and structural barriers to the effective application of GBV principles and norms.
The status of women in Cambodia has significantly improved in the last ten years in some areas, including legal framework to support and protect women, education, employment and labour unions, rights to defence through judicial response, opportunities for women in civil and political engagement, social and economic involvement and more. However, despite the progress, women are still left behind their male counterparts in most aspects of benefiting from social, economic, technological and cultural development. Gender inequity in literacy rates also remains; only 67.85% of women over 25 years old are literate, compared to 81.86% of men (CSES, 2009).
Cambodian women also lack access to quality health services. 72% of women report having one or more problems in accessing health care (DHS, 2010). Rural women are more likely than urban women to face problems related to distance to a health facility and money for health treatment.
Many women and girls have experienced different forms of violence, including rape, domestic violence, sex trafficking and other forms of abuse. The root causes of the violence consists of many factors including: unequal power relations between men and women, lack of access to information and social and legal service deliveries, weak law enforcement, a culture of acceptance and impunity and victim shaming. Women in Cambodia are marginalized, disempowered and ill-equipped to improve the situation without strategic intervention to level the playing field. We need to change attitudes about masculinity that define the domination of, and violence towards, women as a male privilege, moving the needle so that violence toward women is considered an aberration rather than an accepted norm. Violence against women and girls is a human rights concern that not only effects the female population, but has ramifications for the overall health of Cambodian society.
CHEC project addresses GBV using behavior-change communication to raise awareness, knowledge and prevent and/or change gender inequitable and violent behavior. Leaflets, posters, and booklets on gender equality, GBV prevention, women’s rights and laws will be widely distributed. Community forums, campaigns and public debates will be used to share information at community levels. CHEC Youth Freindly Centres were formed at local areas have created a collegial environment to discuss gender equality, women’s rights, GBV, laws, sexual and reproductive health, and other topics like livelihood and poverty alleviation. Multiple forms of behavior change communication are effective in raising awareness of local communities and creating greater public space for victims to speak out and seek help where they had previously been ashamed.
CHEC use Community Based Educators who are volunteers in the provision of counseling for victims, perpetrators, and offer guidance on family relationships, sexual/reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, psychological issues and GBV-related laws. The project has impacted local communities by increasing knowledge of duty-bearers at sub-national levels and community members, including women, men, and children, resulting in united communities acting together to prevent violence in the targeted areas. Raising awareness will allow victims of GBV to feel more comfortable to access available services such as medical, social, and legal assistance.
Community leaders and service providers also engaged to increase their awareness and understanding of GBV, including the need to address it, current regulations, and the role they can play to reduce rates of violence, and help victims.
GBV awareness training for male target groups at Youth Friendly Centres that engage youth and men from varied socio-economic backgroundsl provide awareness training, discussions, discussion forums, educational materials and peer support.
Youth education efforts supported through local sport events: “Engaging Men and Boys to Reduce Violence Against Women”, used to engage wider youth audience and use activities to deliver GBV education.
Public Forums to discuss and learn about GBV, rights and responsibilities, including resources targeting both youth and adults.
Peer education training sessions to train youth peer educators (male and female) about GBV. Peer trainers disseminate their knowledge in their communities through community education with community based educators.
Annual GBV campaign conducted across variety of media platforms through CHEC partners’ community outreach programs.
Improved awareness and support
GBV Network brings together District Police, Department of Women’s Affairs, Commune Council for Women and Children (CCWC) and Commune Members at 3-day education session on GBV, Counselling, promoting women’s rights, supporting victims.
Health service providers, including community health volunteers and health centre workers will receive training on identifying GBV, domestic violence and rape cases, and how and where to make referrals.
CHEC is a well-established organization with strong organizational structure and solid finance management in place. CHEC staff have the necessary technical skills in the provision of the various services we provide to vulnerable people, including PLHIV.
CHEC has a highly-regarded reputation in the HIV/AIDS, health, and reproductive health sectors, and has long-established relationships with local health providers, Commune Councils, Village Chiefs, and community members. Our approach to collaboration, referral systems, and leveraging existing skills, resources, and local presence is key to successfully implementing this project. This approach will allow for projects to scale-up, expand the scope of work and access additional beneficiaries. We believe that linking with Health Centres, well-established Community Based Educators (CBEs) and using existing population and project documentation is the basis to creating a solid foundation to expand the reach and scope in order to help more people.
CHEC currently operates its strategic interventions in four districts in four provinces of Kandal, Kampong Chhnang, Kampot and Prey Veng. Based on current data, many women and girls in these areas have suffered from different forms of violence. Specifically, there are 1,762 GBV cases (1,236 female survivors) in Kampong Chhnang, Kandal, Kampot, and Prey Veng.
CHEC’s GBV program supports the prevention of GBV and protection for victims. Through education, including traditional, peer-to-peer, and media, CHEC helps increase GBV and gender rights awareness, encouraging stakeholders to become agents of change, and becoming leaders among their peers and within their communities.