Rotha’s story: Abuse survivors start new lives

Posted on November 24, 2017

Woman drawing at a desk - Action on Poverty

Rotha*, 37, came to Srey Sanctuary in Siem Reap, Cambodia, with her 3 children to escape her violent husband. After drinking alcohol, he beat and kicked her, and then burned down their house.  Srey Sanctuary provided Rotha and her children with the protection she needed to escape a life-threatening situation.

Staff at the shelter provided Rotha with legal advice and she is now seeking a divorce from her husband. Rotha’s neighbours have also helped her build a new house on her land so that she can begin again.

Learning to live

Rotha is now attending counselling sessions and cooking classes. She hopes to open up her own shop once she has finished her studies. Rotha is also improving her literacy, which which will give her a much better chance of succeeding in business.

Illiterate women in Cambodia are at increased risk of falling into extreme poverty, being sold into sex slavery or becoming trapped in abusive relationships. Literacy means women are better equipped to understand their rights and earn a good living.

A circle of support

“Before, I had no one to talk to,” said Rotha. “At the centre, I can share my story. I feel safe and secure. The women work as a team.”

Srey Sanctuary focuses on empowering women and helping them settle back into the community. The reintegration team conducts family and community assessments to make sure it’s safe for a woman to return home – this means just 2% of women have to return to the centre for further help.

*Names have been changed to protect women’s identities.

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