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Michelle Fitzpatrick – AFP – Friday, 16 November 2012 (originally published 12 Nov)

Women audience listen to stories of survivors

Many Khmer Rouge survivors have kept their sexual traumas secret. Image:Tang Chhin Sothy / AFP/File

PHNOM PENH — For three decades the scars branded onto Kim Khem’s arms have been a reminder of the sexual torture she saw under the Khmer Rouge. Now, aged 80, she is finally breaking her silence on the horrors of the past.

“They did bad things and if I continue to hide it, it’s like hiding an enemy in my village,” she told AFP of the Khmer Rouge troops who terrorised fellow female inmates at a detention centre in Cambodia in the late 1970s.

But a growing number of women are now coming forward to shed light on a largely hidden chapter of the country’s “Killing Fields” era, when up to two million people died from starvation, overwork, torture or execution . . .

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