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Gender Based Violence Project

CDP and gender-based violence during the Khmer Rouge

In 2009, CDP established its Gender-Based Violence Project, with the aim of promoting access to justice for survivors of gender-based violence during the Khmer Rouge. The project does this through documentation and outreach, advocacy for perpetrator accountability and promotion of access to legal representation and the justice system.

What does the gender based violence project do?

  • Documentation and outreach through
    • student forums
    • documentary film on forced marriage
    • collection of testimonies on sexual violence during the Khmer Rouge
    • radio show on women’s experiences during the Khmer Rouge regime
    •  research
    • internet platform
    • audio-visual oral history  
  • Advocacy for perpetrator accountability through
    •  international conference
    •  training for ECCC staff, lawyers, Civil Society
    •  Women’s Hearings 
  • Access to justice for survivors through
    • legal representation before the ECCC
    • study tours and regional workshops for survivors
    • psycho-social support
    • trial attendance at ECCC. 

For more information about project activities, research and resources, video and radio shows, and project partners, see the Gender Based Violence website (in English and Khmer).


CDP work to address gender-based violence

Through its legal and community development work, CDP has long supported the rights of women and children to safety and well-being.

In 2005, Cambodia established the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) to prosecute the leaders of the Khmer Rouge for their crimes. However, the lack of a gender perspective at the court and in other peacebuilding and conflict transformation projects have created barriers to survivors of gender-based violence trying to access justice processes.

In 2007, CDP published ground breaking research on gender-based violence during the Khmer Rouge regime. The research showed that, contrary to popular belief, gender-based crimes took place during this period.

These crimes included:

  • forced marriage
  • sexual slavery
  • rape
  • survival sex
  • sexual mutilation
  • sexual torture.

Perpetrators were often Khmer Rouge officials, soldiers and leaders. Sometimes they were community members and women’s partners.

CDP and other research has shown that gender-based violence can be shameful and painful for survivors, who often remain silent about their experiences. Survivors can experience the impacts of these crimes for decades and across generations. Survivors of such violence during the Khmer Rouge face limited avenues for justice and support. Providing survivors with opportunities to tell their stories in safety and with dignity, is the basis of CDP’s work in this area. We aim to bring these issues to light, to document them as part of Cambodia’s history, and to call for better support and protections for survivors.

Since 2007, CDP has continued to investigate issues of gender based violence during the Khmer Rouge rule and to advocate for survivors for services and justice.

Cambodia is at a turning point in its history – looking to find justice for the millions of victims of the Khmer Rouge. CDP is at the forefront of this this work, providing space for the voices and needs of survivors of gender based violence to be heard.


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