After decades of silence, growing numbers of Khmer Rouge survivors in Cambodia are challenging the stigma around sexual violence. They are speaking out about their experiences of forced marriage, rape and sexual abuse suffered under the regime. From courtrooms to classrooms, from Civil Society forums to family tables, survivors are revealing hidden dimensions to their suffering that continue to impact Cambodian society nearly 40 years after the Khmer Rouge collapsed.
Breaking the Silence examines the prosecution of crimes of sexual violence before the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. It does so through courtroom testimony, archival footage, interviews with experts, practitioners and scholars. It highlights contemporary reparations projects related to addressing the harm suffered in the past. The film reports on the history of forced marriage and sexual violence under the Khmer Rouge regime and analyses the impact of these crimes and their prosecution on contemporary Cambodian society.
'Breaking the Silence' is sponsored by the British Embassy in Phnom Penh,
under the British Government’s Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI).
The film is produced by Khmer Mekong Films, with editorial partners WSD Handa Center for Human Rights and International Justice at Stanford University and East West Center.
Filmmaker & Researcher
Civil Party Lawyer
International Co-Prosecutor – ECCC
Director - WSD Handa Center
for Human Rights and International Justice – Stanford University
UN Special Envoy -
Co-founder of the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI)
International Civil Party
Director of the
Tuol Sleng Museum
Sophiline Cheam Chapiro
Artistic Director - Phka Sla
Deputy Representative -
UN Women Cambodia
Program Coordinator at Kdei Karuna
Project Coordinator -
TPO (Transcultural Psychosocial Organization)
Theresa de Langis
Professor of Global Affairs and Humanities
to the Civil Party Lawyers
Survivor and Public Speaker
'Breaking the Silence' offers a collection of testimonies of Civil Parties who testified at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, as well as survivors of the regime.
The film also gives voice to the young generation of Cambodians, who analyse the impact of these crimes on contemporary Cambodian society.