PHNOM PENH —
Women activists in Cambodia are demanding an apology from Meas Rithy, director of the Hang Meas television network after he allegedly blamed rape and murder victims for encouraging their attackers.
The women last week launched an online petition on Change.org to gather support for the campaign to solicit apologies from the TV station anchors.
The petition quoted remarks Rithy made regarding a rape case where he said: “the victim should not have ridden in the taxi alone at night and should cooperate with the rapist.”
He also allegedly said that “the rapist should have kept the victim alive to keep using her.”
The petition says that Rithy and another station’s anchor, Ros Sotheary’s remarks about rape and murder “showed that Hang Meas TV is violating human rights and women’s values. They instead encourage the rapist, which reflects that their code of conduct is so low.”
“They look down on women, like women are just objects to be raped. So women should not protest or swear at the rapist and let them be raped and used again,” it says.
On Monday, Rithy claimed he “had no bad intentions” when he made the comments and was “just joking” and “educating women”.
Bun Rachna, a senior officer at ActionAid Cambodia, said Rithy’s response did not go far enough.
“He should not excuse or defend himself. He only needs to admit his mistake and apologize to the public and say he was wrong, sincerely. By not saying that he was wrong, he has not apologized, he has not admitted wrongdoing,” she said.
Rithy told VOA Khmer on Tuesday that he planned to meet the organizers of the petition campaign as well as officials.
“I already apologized, but they did not accept it,” he said. If they really want more, I will ask them to explain what the problem is,” he said.
Ouk Kimseng, an information ministry spokesman, said there were no laws covering the proprietor’s remarks. “Whoever was affected by his remarks need to file a complaint,” he said.
As of Tuesday, the petition had received nearly 2,000 supporters out of a target of 2,500.