A Way Back Home

By Sokkun (Senior social worker in PHW)|Jan. 22, 2021


Many women in Cambodia are suffering from domestic violence. The root cause varies from poverty to lack of education to trauma. The traumatic events in their life result in attachment injuries that cause them to have self-destructive tendencies such as unhealthy decision-making, low self-esteem, emotional disturbance, and self-blame and/or blaming others. Trauma that these women have suffered from are often violent and usually pass on cyclically from generation to generation.

These women usually do not know the proper way to express and protect themselves or leave the situation. There are a lot of emotions and challenges that they would face if they leave the source of violence without preparation and help. These challenges include the feelings of helplessness and shame, stereotypes of widows, caring for children while trying to make a living, and the fear of being found by their husband, so it is a very difficult decision to make.


(Left: Min and her 3 children)


Min* was one of our clients who used to live in a domestically violent family and when she grew up, she married a few times and had violent husbands. She moved out from her hometown for more than 20 years, leaving all her memories and relationships with her relatives broken. She kept moving from one place to another to work in the labor field without a regular income. Her last marriage was also violent, but she thought she should hold on to her kids and her unborn baby.


But at last, she used all of her courage to leave her husband and everything behind. She walked out of her home toward a rural village in the middle of the night, through the wild bushes and trees. Min began her walk at midnight and arrived at the village before sunrise. She asked for help from the villagers to stay for a while until she came to the Pleroma Home for Women(PHW) in early 2019. She was emotionally and physically wounded. She had nothing apart from a small package of old tearing cloth for her farm work. She was 6 months pregnant at the time and had her two girls with her: a 9-year-old and 15-year-old. The 15-year-old girl was sent to Pleroma Home for Girls(PHG) to receive her care there.


She has been with the PHW for almost 2 years and even had her baby delivered in its care. She has now acquired a job and since sh has regular income, she can manage living on her own. Min recalls, “I was working on the farm all day long, even though I was very tired, and I sometimes had to sleep in the farmland when I couldn’t go back home. The work offered no rest, but still I could not afford proper meals for my family. But now I have a job that not only can feed my family, but is also full of people who respect me. I receive a lot of love from all of the people who work with me. They support and help me out even in some parts of my life apart from work.” Her daughters also enrolled in Pleroma School for Girls (PSG). “My girls get to learn in a good school which I wouldn’t be able to afford if I didn’t know of PHW. They [the girls] enjoy their studies,” Min said.


It has been a long time since she left her hometown and escaped from her husband, which makes her feel there is nowhere to go or return to. She rents a room near her workplace. Although it is a rented room, she feels at home and she feels good about being able to return there after work. “I was helpless and didn’t know what to do. I was pregnant and had no money even to eat. I had to take care of my girls. PHW helped me find my value and rescued me from my terrible reality. My baby girl is safe and now I can stand strong as a mother to my children although I don’t have a man with me,” Min said with a smile on her face.


We hope PHW can further reach out to many more women who need help and restoration. We pray to create a way for our clients to find a place they can call home. We want to work as a transition for the clients to step away from their current dark situation towards a brighter future and towards a better version of themselves.




* Min is her false name to provide confidentiality for PHW’s clients.