Srey Sanctuary keeps survivors safe

Posted on November 24, 2017

Girls on the playground at Srey Sanctuary

Protecting survivors

Srey Sanctuary in Siem Reap, Cambodia, is a safe haven for survivors of domestic violence, rape and sex trafficking.

One of those survivors is Davi*. At the tender age of 12, Davi is staying at Srey Sanctuary on her own after she was raped by a 50-year-old man – a friend of her stepfather. He has not yet faced prosecution as police are reluctant to arrest him because he is a soldier.

Davi’s mother brought Davi to Srey Sanctuary, where staff helped Davi and her mother file a police report. Davi’s mother had to return home to look after her 18-month-old baby, but the two stay in touch by phone.

Culture of violence

Sadly, Davi’s story isn’t uncommon in Cambodia, where there is a culture of violence against women.

Poverty and lack of education are some of the major reasons why women are frequent victims of abuse and trafficking. Without education, women lack an understanding of their rights or the skills to earn good incomes and lead independent lives.

Moving forward without fear

Srey Sanctuary protects women and children fleeing abuse. The shelter not only rehabilitates survivors but also empowers them to start new lives by offering education and vocational training.

At first, Davi was ashamed of being a rape survivor and was reluctant to speak during counselling sessions. But when she heard other women share their stories in group counselling, she gained the confidence to speak up.

“I was encouraged by my counsellor to not be afraid, and to be strong,” said Davi.

Davi is now attending school in the mornings, where she is in Grade 5. She is taking sewing classes at the shelter in the afternoon. She also works in the vegetable gardens, and has made friends with 2 other girls her own age at the shelter.

“When I grow up, I want to become a professional hairdresser,” she said. “I want to own my own shop.”

Please give a tax-deductible gift by 31 December to help vulnerable girls like Davi escape violence and start new lives.

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