Friday, July 28, 2006

Tang Kim's evidence

Visitors to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh can watch a 30-minute film that seeks to reveal part of the history of the Khmer Rouge regime, give voice to its victims, and help raise the awareness of the younger generation of Cambodians about what their families experienced during the regime. Documentary director Rachana Phat worked with the Documentation Center of Cambodia in 2004 to produce The Khmer Rouge Rice Fields: The Story of Rape Survivor Tang Kim.

Rape crimes by the Khmer Rouge have been largely forgotten or ignored - only 168 cases of rape committed against women during the murderous regime have been identified by DC-Cam - with Tang Kim being the first survivor to have her experiences properly documented. The Khmer Rouge prided themselves on adhering to a strict code of sexual conduct during their otherwise brutal rule from 1975 to 1979. However, Tang Kim, 51 and now a nun, recounts in the film that three days after the Khmer Rouge killed her first husband in May 1975, she and seven other women were rounded up by the regime's soldiers to be raped and then murdered near a village in Kompong Chhnang. Rachana Phat said Tang Kim was reluctant to talk about her own agony until she was convinced how important it would be for educating a new Cambodian generation about the extent of the Khmer Rouge's inhumanity.

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