Stopping violence against women is our top priority

Members of the media and public crowd around as the body of The Voice Cambodia finalist San Sreylai, fatally shot last week at a beauty clinic by her estranged husband, is loaded into an ambulance.
Members of the media and public crowd around as the body of The Voice Cambodia finalist San Sreylai, fatally shot last week at a beauty clinic by her estranged husband, is loaded into an ambulance. Heng Chivoan

LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Ministry of Women’s Affairs

The Ministry of Women’s Affairs expresses its dismay and sadness for the murder of Ms San Sreylai, a well-known Cambodian singer. Currently, the Cambodian police and judicial authorities are undertaking an investigation of this horrendous crime, presumably a gender-based homicide committed by her estranged husband.

We also condemn the distribution on social media of some lewd photos of the singer, which have tried to damage the honour of Ms San Sreylai and her family.

We feel connected to the grief of Ms San Sreylai’s relatives, friends and fans, and request everyone in society to behave in a mature way and to respect the family during this time of mourning .The Ministry of Women’s Affairs has repeatedly stood against all forms of gender-based violence against women in our country: namely domestic abuse, sexual violence and trafficking in women and girls.

We have worked with different stakeholders to address gender-based violence through policy and legal enforcement, and through promoting a shift in social perceptions that now perpetuate and justify such violence. We are currently implementing the Second National Action Plan to Prevent Violence Against Women (2014-2018) and have thus far succeeded.

For example, in improving services to female victims of gender-based crimes in 11 provinces. We have also developed a media code of conduct to uphold ethical and professional standards of journalists for reporting on cases of violence against women.

Our “Good Men Campaign” has reached more than 3 million Cambodian men and boys through media and social mobilisation activities with the goal of promoting a change in males’ behaviours and stopping violence against women before it happens. We’ve had successes, but of course there are still gaps and challenges that require time and education.

Gender-based violence against women is a problem that requires a strong response from different ministries, media, educational institutions, civil-society organisations and citizens themselves. The Ministry of Women’s Affairs remains firmly committed to ending gender-based violence against women and to continue activating a whole-of-society response. Because Cambodian women and girls deserve and have the right to enjoy a life without violence.