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- July 8, 2023 10:25 PM
Sithong Sokha, the police officer who was initially reprimanded for posting photos of herself breastfeeding her child on social media, has now been promoted to the rank of captain.
PHNOM PENH--Stung Treng Provincial Administration Spokesperson Men Kung said on March 17 that Sithong Sokha, the police officer who posted images online of herself breastfeeding while on duty, has now been promoted to the rank of captain.
Her promotion came after an outcry from Cambodian netizens who were outraged that Sokha had initially been reprimanded by senior police officers and forced to apologize publicly for “harming” the dignity and honor of Khmer women.
The resulting furor led to several prominent Cambodian authorities weighing in with messages of support for Sokha, who the majority of netizens believed should have been praised for caring for her child while conducting her traffic police duties.
The incident blew up on social media on March 9, one day after International Women’s Day, and eventually led to clarifications that amounted to a retraction from the police unit Sokha works in. She even received a donation of $125, some fruit and drinks from National Police Chief Neth Savoeun, marking a shift in the police’s initial response.
But Kung denied that Sokha’s promotion was due to the public backlash the police faced and said that Sokha had ascended to the rank of captain through hard work alone—not through breastfeeding.
“The team had asked her superiors to promote [Sokha] before the case of posting pictures of breastfeeding, so it’s not related, but seemingly it just happened at the same time,” he said.
Kung was quick to point out that five other female police officers across Stung Treng Province were also promoted at the same time as a reward for their hard work.
Speaking out for the first time since she was forced to apologize publicly, Sokha said that she is happy about her promotion and promised to work harder.
“All work is equal, do not consider men or women [unequal],” she said. “I would like to encourage all mothers to try to breastfeed their babies for their children's health.”