Breaking the Silence

Original Release: November 2017
Directed by: Kalyanee Mam
Written by: Kalyanee Mam
Running Time: 53 minutes

After decades of silence, growing numbers of Khmer Rouge survivors in Cambodia are challenging the stigma around sexual violence. They are speaking out about their experiences of forced marriage, rape and sexual abuse suffered under the regime. From courtrooms to classrooms, from Civil Society forums to family tables, survivors are revealing hidden dimensions to their suffering that continue to impact Cambodian society nearly 40 years after the Khmer Rouge collapsed.

Breaking the Silence examines the prosecution of crimes of sexual violence before the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. It does so through courtroom testimony, archival footage, interviews with experts, practitioners and scholars. It highlights contemporary reparations projects related to addressing the harm suffered in the past. The film reports on the history of forced marriage and sexual violence under the Khmer Rouge regime and analyses the impact of these crimes and their prosecution on contemporary Cambodian society.


Kalyanee Mam, Silke Studzinsky, Nicholas Koumjian, David Cohen, Angelina Jolie, Marie Guiraud, Chhay Visoth, Sophiline Cheam Chapiro, Sarah Knibbs, Yim Sotheary, Hoy Vathana, Theresa de Langis, Ny Chandy, Sok Samith

Photo Gallery
Filming Locations:
  • Cambodia
  • Angelina Jolie is the co-founder of British Government’s Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI) and this documentary was sponsored by the British Embassy in Phnom Penh, under the British Government’s Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI).
  • The film is produced by Khmer Mekong Films, with editorial partners WSD Handa Center for Human Rights and International Justice at Stanford University and East West Center.