Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Khmer Pedophiles and the Cambodia Daily

Cambodia Daily, Sept 21, 2010, page 24
In the Cambodia Daily newspaper, foreigners who have been caught having sex with a minor child in Cambodia are routinely (and justifiably) referred to as 'pedophiles' or 'alleged pedophiles,' and the problem of 'foreign pedophiles' is almost always noted somewhere in such articles. There are also disturbingly regular reports in the Cambodia Daily of Cambodians "raping" children in Cambodia. In fact there currently seems to be an epidemic of Cambodians sexually abusing children. But, regardless of the age of the victims, Cambodians are never referred to as 'pedophiles' in the Cambodia Daily.

Helping to illustrate this point, today there are two stories in today's Daily set side-by-side (see above,) one of a foreign "pedophile" who sexually abused an 8-year-old boy and later two 16-year-old boys. Next to it there is a story of a Cambodian man who allegedly "raped" an 8-year-old girl and a 5-year-old girl on separate occasions. For some reason, the Cambodian who allegedly repeatedly sexually abused children is not referred to as a 'pedophile' or 'alleged pedophile' in the Daily article. And even though the article notes literally hundreds of cases of sexual abuse against children by Cambodians, there is no mention of pedophilia. Now, I could imagine several possible reasons for the different vocabulary used in these two specific articles in today's paper, that is if it weren't for the fact that in the dozens and dozens of stories of the sexual abuse of children by Cambodians and foreigners reported in the Cambodia Daily over the last decade, the Daily has never once referred to a Cambodian child sex offender as a 'pedophile' in any of its articles (at least in my semi-systematic observation.) Let me repeat for emphasis, not even once.

Assuming my observation is accurate, there would seem to be a pattern here. The Cambodia Daily seems categorically averse to attaching the label of 'pedophile' to Cambodian offenders, and I was just wondering why. What is the difference between Cambodian and foreign child sex offenders when it comes to being a 'pedophile?' Is there a racial component to being a 'pedophile'? Can a Cambodian be a pedophile or is that a category reserved exclusively for foreigners?

UPDATE: October 23, 2010
The Cambodia Daily provided a nice example this week. Two articles, same writer, 4 days apart, two men, one Khmer, the other a foreigner, arrested for virtually the same crime - purchasing sex from girls younger than 15. The article describes stereotypical pedophile behavior on the part of the Khmer man - engaging in serial sexual abuse of children, choosing his residence so as to have access to children, 'luring' them into his home where he would then pay them for sex.... Yet, in the article about the Khmer man, there is no mention of 'pedophilia.' Whereas in the article about the foreigner, (which in fact has less to do with the nature of the crime than in his accusation about the court,) pedophilia is not only mentioned but is in the headline. Very odd.

(Click on the article to enlarge it.)

13 comments:

  1. Just found your blog - VERY impressive! I'll check in again.

    The explanation of this phenomenon is quite straightforward. Any mention of 'pedophile' will be flagged up by donating western NGOs. Western NGOs generally do not fund organisations hunting non-western perpetrators. You'd be hard-pressed to find any East Asian or Cambodian NGOs or law-enforcement agencies dedicated to hunting down non-western perverts, who account for well over 95% of offenders.

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  2. UPDATE - As if on cue the Cambodia Daily did it again today (Sept 23.) Page 28, two stories side by side, one entitled 'American Pedophile Sentenced to 17 Years in Prison' about a foreigner convicted of having sex with children, and the other 'Man Attempts Rape of 11-Year-Old Girl in Kandal' about a 61-year-old Khmer man who attempted to have sex with an 11-year-old girl. No mention of pedophiles or pedophilia in the latter story.

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  3. Worried about defamation lawsuits, perhaps?

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  4. In how many cases were the Cambodians soliciting quid pro sex? In how many cases were the foreigners forcibly having sex with children?

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  5. Whar element of 'quid pro quo' is having sex with a 5 year old?

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  6. My thought as well Andy.

    Anon - Don't recall how many exactly, but we are not dealing in 'how manys' here. The Cambodia Daily has not simply referred to Cambodian child sex offendrs as pedos less often than others. It has never referred to a Cambodian as a pedo (in my observation.) Never. The level of force is not always or even usually reported in the articles, not that it matters. There is no such thing as consensual sex with a prepubescent child. It is all rape. And more to the point, forcing oneself on a child does not make that person any less the pedo.

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  7. All pedophiles are rapists (by virtue of reasonable age of consent) ... not all rapists are pedophiles ... I think any person having sex with pre-pubescent children should be labeled as pedophile rapists ... I think removing the word rapist gives the impression that children can some how consent

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  8. Could it be possible that the stories about foreigners are written such that they will be made available to wire services?

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  9. Certainly not all Rapists are paedophiles or by definition one who prefers sex with children below the age of consent. Yes there are many child rapes in Cambodia commited by Khmer men who are not necessarily paedophiles but rather men who may take advantage of women of all ages. It is difficult to know if these individuals are paedophiles whereas the Western men prosecuted and found guilty of the offence have travelled here with the sole purpose of fullfilling their perverted desires.

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  10. yes it has to do with the wire services. if they put 'pedophile' in the headline for stories in which the suspects are native to the country, it would only confuse matters as these stories do not appeal to foreign editors world-wide when they are selecting stories each nite. of course, its possible there is some sort of 'liberal' bias against evil western capitalist white men, but this would be hard to verify...

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  11. How about putting it somewhere in the body of the story? Even one time? Still, to date, the Daily has reported literally dozens of rapes and molestations of prepubescent children by Khmer men, especially in the last few years, and has yet to suggest even once anywhere in the story that there are any Khmer 'pedophiles' in Cambodia.

    If I was going to speculate as to why this is done, my first thought would not be that it was a "'liberal' bias against evil western capitalist white men," but instead a prejudice regarding the writer's level of expectations of Khmers vs that of 'civilized' westerners. But as you suggest, whatever the writer's motivation, it would be a matter of speculation.

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  12. This is late in the game, but the Daily does not run its stories on wire services.

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  13. The reason is simple. In Khmer tradition sex with minors has never been seen as something pervert or abnormal, it was once part of the culture, see for example the (ritual) handing over of young girls for defloration to priests in Angkor's times. It is still much common that under 15 years old marry in local ceremonies (though the law would not acknowledge their marital status). Pressure from cultures outside of Cambodia and financial as well as ideological interests of NGOs which led to law changes in Cambodia made it possible to adapt just the common phrases that are used by those foreigners when dealing with them as suspects. Actually, to rightfully call s.o. a pedophile you would need a medical and psychological assessment, so the labeling just serves the purpose of hysteria which on the other hand fills the donation boxes of those NGOs. And to be more precise - pedophilia is not a crime at all, it is only pedoSEXUALITY that is targeted by the law, and as we all know there are a lot of pedosexual acts that are not done by persons who consider themselves pedosexual. So the word is totally useless and should not be used easily by any serious and reflecting journalist.

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