Words that once brought the biggest smile on my face that now fall flat to my ears. I’m sorry. I no longer have the strength to instill so much faith in you while I take the blows of your thoughtless actions that seem somehow designed to shred me to pieces. I no longer have the grace to smile and contain my disappointment when your actions affirm my fears and worst suspicions. Suspicions that I thought would never cross my mind but through countless experiences of having being hurt by you, seem to be on a constant loop in my mind. I no longer have the heart to do so. So, please forgive me, but as of now, those pretty words that come out of that ingeniously selective mouth of yours isn’t going to do jack shit.
It’s darker than any nightclub tonight in the Cambodian jungle, and the teenagers in one secluded village are taking full advantage of the blackness. Only a few playful silhouettes in the glow of a bonfire - and lots of giggling - hint at the flirtations going on.
When the party comes to an end, these teenage girls won’t be forced to abandon their crushes and reutrn to their parents’ homes. Instead, they’ll head back to their own tiny “love huts,” miniature houses built by their families (a short distance away from the parents’ home) so they can spend their nights alone with a boy of their choosing and have sex with him. Meet the Kreung people of northeast Cambodia’s remote Ratanakiri province - a fertile land of jungle and mountains where bears, elephants, and the nation’s few remaining tigers still roam the forests. In a tradition that would make American parents squirm, teenage girls here are encouraged by their parents to experiment with sex and make thier own choices when it comes to finding true love.
It may sound risky, but according to the Kreung, having girls set the rules about sex (instead of male religious, social, or political leaders doing it for them) helps create young women wo are confident and independent. Divorce is rare here.
Gaham and her husband, Vria, both 21, married a year ago, strongly agree the love huts play a vital role in social development and romantic success. “Having your own house is a social thing too,” says Gaham. “People come visit you more often when you live on your own, and not just the boys. But for that purpose, the huts are really romantic.”
Kong Kam, 20, is a serious and edgy-looking young woman with long hair that spills down to her waist. After her younger sister got married following a love-hut romance, Kam decided that if she were going to have any chance of landing a boyfriend, she simply had to move into a hut.
“When I was living in my parents’ house, boys were too shy to come over, so I couldn’t get to know any of them properly,” says Kam. “Maybe I would have met someone before this if I’d had my own house earlier.”
Kreung boys are usually too shy to approach the intimidating girls with love huts and often wait weeks, even months, before making a move for fear of being rejected. Respect for women is a value the boys of the village acquire from their elders. Parents don’t directly give their children specific advice for dealing with the opposite sex. Instead, they just trust they’ve instilled enough self-respect and character in their children to make the right choices for themselves. And if a girl does pick a “bad boy” and even becomes pregnant by him, it won’t tarnish the girl’s reputation. That’s a far cry from the rest of Cambodia, where young women are not always so empowered. Too often, they are trafficked and sold into the sex trade, forced to service dozens of men a day.
An excerpt of an article that I read today that I found interesting. Instead of having the typical double standard on women when it comes to sex like the way we do in the United States as well as a handful of other societies, I love how the Kreung empower their girls and provide them with a degree of respect when it comes to the matters of love…or to put it more bluntly: SEX. lol Given my upbringing I found it abit odd but refreshing. It’s nice to know that not every woman is fucked over/degraded by them “double standards” that our society insists on chaining them to.