Community Update

Digital Empowerment Toolkit Now Available!

At World Pulse, we recognize the need for ongoing learning—for you and for your community! Our toolkits aim to provide the resources you need to advance your social change work.

We are excited to introduce our Digital Empowerment Trainers’ Toolkit, a dynamic resource to help you bring the benefits of connecting online to women in your community. Check it out today! »

She’s raped and killed---she was just 10 year-old

It was last week; a 10-year-old girl was raped and strangled to death in the dining hall of a Buddhist pagoda in my country Cambodia (Cambodiadialy report).
In a pagoda!
This brutal, inhuman crime is definitely getting more serious.

I have a 14-year-old sister, a seven-year-old and a five-year-old niece. I also have a number of female cousins whose ages ranging from 3-15. A lot are ten years old, in fact. All of them are smart, lovely and full of enthusiasm. After school, the girls sing for me new songs they learn at school. Some dance. At weekend, they ask me to teach them--mostly English and Math. They draw my picture for my birthday gifts and the joys brought tears in my eyes. I in return take their pictures. Every time, I photograph them, they show their white, funny, still-growing teeth with the most innocent, sparkling eyes that always produce so much fun, joys and happiness. Their laugh, their big wide smiles are beautiful than anything else in the world I have ever seen. They are greatest beauty on earth. How I treasure all the moments I spent with them! I could go on and on describing how I very much feel the need to assert now that these kids, all kids in the world deserve to live, to be treated with loves and caring. Not this—the RAPE and murder. Definitely not this!

In Cambodia, according to Adhoc, there were 201 child rapes last year, of a total of 320 reported rape cases. At least 10 girls younger than 18 years old were raped and murdered in 2012. In 2011, there were 13 cases of child rape-murder. These are reported cases. There might be plenty more escaped from media coverage.

It could have been my little cousin, my sister or my niece that would be the next victim. And only if it were the case, I’m pretty much sure that I would go crazy. If I could not find the man who did that, I would definitely go scream at all men, curse them or even try to kill them. To be realistic, I wouldn’t be able to accept it---if she were my sister or my cousin. This is the ugly nature of human beings. If she is our family or our relative, we'd definitely do something. If we don’t know her, we tend to not do anything. I... read the news, and then went back to finish my assignment. If only I put myself in the shoes of the mother or sisters of this 10-year-old girl! Only when I do so that I realize I wouldn’t be able to do anything. Screw the assignment; screw the dreams of accomplishing something great. I would definitely get so depressed and let my life spoiled and rot. I would even go kill myself to end the enormous agony as soon as possible.

There’s no question if the perpetrator would feel the same if his 10-year-old sister or daughter is raped and killed. He would definitely feel the same grief and the same anger just like the parents and the family of the girl do now. But I don’t blame the perpetrator alone. I of course can’t deny that my government is useless. Men would do all sorts of things if there’s no laws and punishment to control them. My government definitely most of the time do nothing to punish perpetrators. Laws’ enforcement is very weak. I don’t have any hope they would do anything to lessen impunity any time soon. I guess I’m writing now to advocate for more NGOs that work for women and children’s rights to come save Cambodian girls and women and for the current NGOs in my country to please work harder to help bring justice for the victims and to save the remained innocent girls and women. I trust you, not my government. I still have one more year to go, to finish my studies. After I graduate, I will join you. I’m still young and inexperienced but I’ll do what I can.

May the soul of the girl and the many more previous victims rest in peace!


JaniceW's picture

My heart bleeds

Saren, I can barely respond as I am so upset by this. I lived in Phnom Penh for a while and see the little girl's face in all of the children I met. Those sparkling eyes and big wide smiles of innocence. Although trafficking is not uncommon in Cambodia, it doesn't minimize the tragedy of knowing a little girl was killed in a holy place where she would never have questioned her safety. This is heartbreaking on so many levels and it must stop. It must stop in India, in Nepal, in Congo, in every city where girls are no longer seen as human beings with beautiful spirits and huge potential.

Keep up with your studies and when you graduate, do join one of the many incredible NGOs working so hard to counter the inaction of the government. Meanwhile, connect with our lovely member Sarvina (Phnom Penh) who is also fighting for the rights of women and children in Cambodia.

sarenkeang's picture

I will

I know. This is absolutely heart-breaking. I actually cried when I first read the news.
Thanks for your encouragement. I will have to work to support my family but at the same time, I am willing to help and support the NGOs in any way I could. When my family gets a bit stable, I will definitely commit to be in this battle.

Anyway, I like your concise, but meaningful language: "my heart bleeds", "Those sparkling eyes and big wide smiles of innocence"....

Thanks for reading the post!


Rahmana Karuna's picture


no words can really address the atrocities humans, usually men, inflict on women and each other. thank you Saren, for writing your story. maybe being here in pulsewire can give you support for continueing on, and strength, and insight?

Magazine »

Read global coverage through women's eyes

Inside Congo's Growing Sisterhood

Inside Congo's Growing Sisterhood

Community »

Connect with women on the ground worldwide

PAKISTAN: They Went to School and Never Came Back

PAKISTAN: They Went to School and Never Came Back

Campaigns »

Be heard at influential forums

WWW: Women Weave the Web

WWW: Women Weave the Web

Programs »

Help us train women citizen journalists

World Pulse Voices of Our Future

World Pulse Voices of Our Future

Blog »

Read the latest from World Pulse headquarters

Announcing Our Prize Winners!

Announcing Our Prize Winners!

Partners »

Join forces with our wide network of partners

Nobel Women's Initiative

Nobel Women's Initiative