Married Off by the Khmer Rouge, and ‘Nobody Could Help Me’

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tags: Cambodia, Khmer Rouge, Phnom Penh



In a vast courtroom on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, a middle-aged Cambodian woman soberly described a night nearly four decades ago that she said she had never talked about before.

The local leader of the Khmer Rouge government had assigned her to marry one man, but at the last minute decided on another, she told the court. On their wedding night in early 1977, she refused his advances. The man complained to the chief, who raped her and threatened to kill her, before sending her back to live with her new husband.

“I bit my lips and shed my tears,” said the woman, identified at the tribunal only as 2-TCCP-274 to protect her identity. She eventually let her husband have sex with her.




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