Ms. LEVINE Peggy
The Australian-American academic Peg LeVine was born in 1952. She is a registered clinical psychologist, an anthropologist with a focus on medical anthropology, a professor and a research affiliate at the Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research in Los Angeles.
She learned about the Cambodian conflict in 1980 when she was working in a mental health center, where many Cambodian refugees were. She began her research in 1997 on the specific topic of weddings under the Democratic Kampuchea. She explained that it was a really hard work to stay neutral with that kind of topic. For example, before the expression “forced marriage” was used before the Courts, no one said anything about it but preferred the expression “arranged marriage.” The expert chose to use the expression “conscripted marriage.” She explained that the marriages were thought of as if they were providing a service to the future of their country. For her, it was to serve Angkar, a question of loyalty. The definition of forced marriage in a legal view is that one under violence or threat of violence and when people get married not with their free will. Her investigations showed that only fewer than ten per cent were threatened to death if they didn’t accept to marry someone. She stated that perception of weddings depended on perception of Angkar. She stated that the ceremony was different according to leaders. Lack of rituals disturbed many people.
Regarding the consummation of marriage, she said that no couple stated that they were forced to do it or monitored, it was expected that people would consummate their marriage in the first three days. She pointed out that we expect the same from couples in every country. She said that she couldn’t define forced marriage but she rejected using this to define marriages under Khmer Rouge. She explained that she established the authenticity of weddings through of the perception of people.