Keo’s dreams for the future

Posted on September 18, 2017

Back of girl sitting on swingKeo* was just 12 years old when she came to the Cambodian Women’s Crisis Center after being raped by her stepfather’s friend, a soldier in his 50s.

After accompanying her to the Centre in Phnom Penh, Keo’s mother was forced to return to the family home to look after her 18-month-old baby. Keo has been staying at the Center by herself, keeping in touch with her mother over the phone.

At first, Keo was ashamed of being raped and was reluctant to share her story. However, after attending counselling sessions and hearing other rape survivors share their stories, she has begun to gain confidence.

“My counsellor encourages me to not be afraid and to be strong,” Keo said.

Keo now attends Grade 5 at the local primary school near the Center. She studies in the morning and attends sewing classes in the afternoon. She also works in the Center’s vegetable garden, and has made friends with two girls her own age.

“When I grow up, I want to be a professional hairdresser and own my own shop,” she said. “Hairdressing is my favourite. I also like the sewing class.”

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*not her real name