Cambodian women & violence: considering NGO interventions in cultural context
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 10:38 by Rebecca Surtees
The issue of violence against women is at the forefront of feminist and development debate in contemporary Cambodia. This, however, does not mean that gendered violence is always considered and handled in ways that are suitable and effective. Violence is a part of the social order in Cambodia at many levels and it is not possible to isolate it easily in terms of programmatic interventions. Cultural and historical meanings of social and gendered violence must be considered and incorporated into the ways that NGOs and development actors seek to address and redress violence against women in Cambodia. This thesis examines NGO considerations of, and interventions on, three manifestations of gendered violence that NGOs and Cambodians identify as the most critical and pernicious - domestic violence, trafficking in women and rape. Based on my fieldwork in Cambodia I consider a range of NGO initiatives aimed at reducing violence against women and the ways in which they fit (or fail to fit) with the lived experience of gendered violence in Cambodia. While the state of play between NGOs activities and the reality of gendered violence is not altogether positive, there are a number of interventions which signal valuable starting points for future interventions. In considering and incorporating the complexity of Cambodian social order and structures, it becomes increasingly possible to identify and promote points of entry for interventions and more finely tuned and firmly grounded NGO initiatives might increase their impact on violence against women.