Gender-based violence is rampant in Cambodia, where girls are expected to remain chaste until marriage and are generally held in lower regard than boys. Widespread sex trafficking and rape present Cambodian girls with a painful irony: in addition to the trauma of sexual assault and abuse, survivors are often blamed for what has happened to them. Ostracized and shouldering a burden of guilt for having shamed their families, many girls have no where to turn...
Lotus Outreach gives survivors of sexual violence the opportunity to participate in individual and group counseling in a safe environment so they can heal from their trauma and reclaim their dignity, self-worth and overall mental health. The project also supports the reintegration of the survivors into their communities when that is possible. Another component of the project are start-up awards for adult women to begin their own business and gain the independence that will ensure their safety.
Programs that supply professional counseling for victims of sex crimes are known to reduce related concerns like post-traumatic stress disorder, addiction and suicide. The reintegration of these women, after the healing process they undergo, as productive actors in their communities also benefits Cambodia as a whole. These women become advocates for women's right and undeniable embodiment that the culture that views survivors of violence and trafficking as damaged "goods" is absolutely false.
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