Cambodia’s Women’s Resource Centre is calling on the Kingdom’s photographers to help them address the complex issue of eliminating violence against women by taking part in its nationwide photography campaign
The “Violence Against Women is Never OK” photography competition, is taking submissions until November 15, encourages Cambodia’s photographers to share their understanding of what it means to be a Cambodian woman affected by violence.
From the submitted entries, 16 finalists will be chosen and their images will be exhibited in the Royal Gardens in Siem Reap from November 25 until December 10, in order to conincide with UN Women’s 16 days of activism for the elimination of violence against women.
“Everyone learns differently and interprets ideas differently,” explained Mrs Pisey Khim, Managing Director at Women’s Resource Centre (WRC), based in Siem Reap. “With our exhibition, we hope to portray multiple viewpoints on this issue so that understanding the message that violence against women is never OK is more accessible to more people.”
Despite a general consensus in Cambodia that men and women are equal, the 2013 United Nations Multi-Country Study on Men and Violence in Asia and the Pacific report found that when it comes down to everyday activities, Cambodian women still have many hurdles to jump.
The Why do some men use violence against women and how can we prevent it? study reported 25% of Cambodian women have experienced physical or sexual violence or both by an intimate partner. In addition, 1 in 3 Cambodian men admitted to perpetrating physical and/or sexual violence against their intimate partner, while 54.3% of Cambodian men said they had used at least one act of emotional abuse against their intimate partner.
Meanwhile the 2013 Findings from Cambodia’s Violence Against Children Survey from UNICEF reported an astonishing 52.7% of Cambodian women experience physical violence before they turn 18.
“We really want to address the lack of education and awareness surrounding violence against women,” said Khim. “We want to help all Cambodians not only understand the consequences of violence and how to correctly treat women, but also the benefits of parenting without violence and a better understanding the role of gender in Cambodian society – all of which are addressed in the workshops run at Women’s Resource Centre.”
Run by Cambodian women, WRC helps other Cambodian women gain the skills and confidence they need to change their lives for the better. First and foremost, it is a drop-in centre where local women can safely ask questions regarding any aspect of their life and their children’s lives.
The Centre also offer free informal education workshops on topics such as women’s health, women’s rights and gender, domestic violence, positive parenting and financial empowerment.
Submissions for the photography competition close November 8.