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Domestic Violence Ends, Love is restored

Lot, 42, married Phan Eap when she was 21 years old. Most of their married years have been anything but marital bliss. Eap was physically abusive to the point that families in their Cambodian village and even the police were afraid to intervene.

“My husband started drinking and gambling with his friends,” Lot said. “We had no money for food. When he came home and there was no food in the house, he started arguing with me. He started beating me.”

Eap’s ongoing struggle to find work escalated his anger and violent behaviour.

Samaritan’s Purse is helping break the cycle of domestic abuse and gender discrimination that’s prevalent among Cambodian families, and being passed from one generation to the next.

Our Ending Violence Against Women project in Cambodia teaches families how to become healthy and loving, and value respect and honest communication respect and honest communication. We’re also training and empowering women to share what they learn from our staff with other women and families in their villages and communities.

Eap’s anger wasn’t reserved for his wife. He tried to keep his children from going to school by hiding their bicycles. The children had no other way to get there because the school is far from their village.

Afraid for her children’s safety and unable to meet their basic needs such as food, Lot made the painful decision to send them away for a period of time. “I thought I would kill myself,” she said.

Neighbours were concerned about Lot, and the village leader tried to talk with Eap.

Lot’s sister, Leak, was especially worried.

“I could hear the conflict in their home because I live next door,” she said.

Leak attended Samaritan’s Purse training about healthy, Biblical marriages and families, and then shared what she learned with her sister.

“I wanted to help them understand about forgiveness,” she said. “I wanted their lives to change.”

Lot listened to her sister, and, with time, so did Eap. He didn’t just listen—Eap changed. He stopped drinking and gambling and transformed into a patient, loving husband and father. All those years of anger, hatred, and abuse faded into the past.

When Eap’s physical violence ended, Lot began to feel safe in her home for the first time in years.

“We stopped fighting and arguing,” she said. “I am very happy now.”

It’s not unusual for Cambodian homes to be stained with domestic abuse and largely void of love or respect. The brutal Khmer Rouge regime that wiped out a generation of educated citizens also attempted to tear apart families and terminate all meaningful relationships.

Samaritan’s Purse staff also taught Lot and Eap how to save and manage their finances, and, once they applied those principles, life changed even more.

Lot described her family as the “village example” for how ending domestic violence and developing healthy families can transform—and save—lives.

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