Put bluntly, traditional cultural norms still condone -- and even require -- male domination over women, by violence if necessary. And studies have repeatedly shown that rape -- while commonly conflated with sex and aberrant eroticism -- is really about violence, domination, power and privilege. In addition, traditions of femininity demand that women must submit to males.
This tradition holds their reputations rather than their perpetrators hostage if they make claims of being raped public. Gender norms like these are hardly confined to Cambodia, but are common across Southeast Asia. For instance, a recent UN survey of 10, men in Southeast Asia found that almost a quarter reported having raped someone, at some time, which doesn't count those who did, but declined to admit it.
Current responses to child rape in Southeast Asia have focused on increasing human rights, public awareness, legal reform and strengthening judiciary and police response.
Flowerboys and the appeal of 'soft masculinity' in South Korea
All of these are needed. Cambodian authorities are still now figuring out how to track and collect data on child rape, and many crimes are not prosecuted.
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Sadly, perpetrators know only a fraction of those who commit such crimes will face actual jail time, and therefore act with impunity. There is an argument to be made that when a quarter of the population admits to an illegal activity, it is no longer considered a social aberration that can be ended through laws and policing -- no one can seriously propose rounding up and incarcerating one-in-four adult Cambodian males.
That said, any activity so widespread, qualifies as a cultural norm, which may call for additional measures. Perhaps a key part of combating child rape effectively will include challenging, highlighting and ultimately changing masculine norms and attitudes that tolerate and foster the continued violent domination of women, girls, and children -- and by tapping into the hearts and minds of those males who will no longer stand for this atrocity. Gender and Development for Cambodia has also found that a significant minority of Cambodian men may have more progressive ideas about masculinity and power.
These men, along with many other males, are presumably and also privately repulsed by the ongoing, shameful and horrific reality of child rape that is practiced in their country. They also found that these very men are afraid to speak out for fear of being stigmatized for their progressive values. Speaking publicly about something that is still considered a private matter is considered taboo in Cambodia.
Men and Masculinities in Southeast Asia
Perhaps, even more taboo than rape. Instead, this practice should rather be interpreted as a modern version of the cultural style of hegemonic masculinity through which young men deal with protection from danger in the risky exercise of migration. Open Access. This chapter is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial License, which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction any medium, provided the original author s and in source are credited.
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New York, London: Belhaven Press. Participants also discussed how definitions of success can become intertwined with masculinity and how financial crises can affect how men view their masculinity. The role of mass media in propagating ideals of masculinity was explored by scholars studying masculinity in Korean dramas and Indian films.
Papers also explored the role played by women and their desires in the construction of masculinities. Presenters also noted how masculinity became militarized as nations such as Japan and Korea strove to recover and develop economically post war and how today Asian men are reconstructing masculinities of the past as their model.
Aside from men as workers, participants also shared how organizations worked to transform masculinity among boys as scouts in China and among men as fathers in Japan and Korea.
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