Your support has provided so much help to women in Vietnam. In November alone, your support allowed Hagar Vietnam towelcome three new clients and four dependents. There are two clients coming from domestic violence, of whom one came to us with bruises on her face caused by her husband. The third one is a survivor of complex circumstance of human trafficking, sexual abuse and violence. Hagar Vietnam’s support has come to these clients and their children when they need it most. With Hagar’s commitment to do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes, the women and children are ready to start their whole journey towards recovery and write a different chapter of their lives.
As part of the process to wholeness and empowerment, your support allowes Hagar to provide counseling. Apart from providing individual counselling service, Hagar Vietnam continues to organize therapeutic activities for clients such as: colouring, doing exercise, going out for sightseeing in Hanoi. Some women and children went to a street music show the 25th of November – the International day on eliminating violence against women.
The women you are support want to share their thankfulness themselves:
“I am willing to share my story to help raise awareness on preventing human trafficking. I know I need to contribute by raising my voice in addressing this issue. I hope that my story is heard so less people become victims of modern slavery.” Tien, a survivor of human trafficking, now working hard to make her dream of being a social worker come true.
“I cannot be more than thankful to have Hagar with me to heal my scars and rebuild my life. Hagar appeared when I was most desperate taking my child to run away from my violent husband.” “If I don’t find this house (the support of Hagar), I really have nowhere else to go to.” Tra, a survivor of domestic violence
“If I had not been given Hagar Vietnam hotline, I would have nobody to call for help when my husband kept drinking and beating me to release his anger.” “I never imagined there could be such a safe place like this house. All of you treat me kindly & gently. Thank you so much for helping me and my children” Hau, a survivor of domestic violence, who has come to Hagar recovery center with 3 children.
“I really love staying at this house. Here I can freely draw without being scared of my father.” “I like staying here. I don’t want to go back home because I’m scared of my dad’s beating me” Survivor Hau’s 4 year-old child speaking about Hagar Vietnam recovery center
“I don’t remember much, but I remember when he forced his cap into my mouth to muffle my screams. It tasted of dust. And then, the rest is just a painful haze.”
After morning school, Srey Mom’s daily task was to cut grass in the fields for the water buffalo. She would always go with her younger brother and his playmate. And then one afternoon, the neighbor appeared from behind the trees and grabbed her arm. Scared, the two little boys ran to get help. But it was too late.
Srey Mom was only 10 years old when she was brutally raped. “I don’t remember much, but I remember when he forced his cap into my mouth to muffle my screams. It tasted of dust. And then, the rest is just a painful haze.” Said Srey Mom.
Her parents didn’t believe her. They chose to turn a blind eye because they feared public shame. They didn’t want the village to look down on the family because of a shameful act. Thankfully, Srey Mom’s grandmother believed her and took her to see a doctor, who encouraged them to take the case to the local village chief.
The local village chief did not want to take any action so they went to the local police quarters who referred her case to Hagar. For safety reasons, Srey Mom was taken to Phnom Penh, a few provinces away from her hometown.
Her physical wounds took six months to heal but her inner wounds were deep. She felt broken. Back in her hometown, mouth to mouth had spread gossip and everyone knew what had happened to her. She felt dirty and shamed, and thought she would forever be considered a worthless girl.
“Spending time with my counselor at Hagar was what made me whole again. I felt safe and felt like she could help me focus on the future and hope.
Srey Mom’s journey was a long winding road of healing, self- acceptance, countless sessions with her counselor and hours spent expressing her pain through music and the arts. But it is a beautiful path of restoration of brokenness. Srey Mom has created many beautiful art pieces reflecting an array of emotions. “Music and dance at the CLC helped me externalize my feelings. I didn’t know music could be a tool to heal”
Srey Mom is now 21 years old and studies accounting at university. She has big dreams. Dreams of becoming a rock star, of dancing for the king. Realistically, her goal is to earn a good salary working as an accountant in the city. She will be able to send money back to her parents in the province.
“I want to have three children” Srey Mom says laughing. “Two girls- twins preferably- and one little boy. And there is something really important I will teach them from day one. How to be good, how to respect your neighbor but most importantly, how to not speak to strangers or open the door to anyone they don’t know. I wasn’t taught this, and was very naïve growing up. I want to help educate children in the Province one day on basic personal safety”.
Srey Mom is HOPE, she embodies the full journey of recovery at Hagar.
In Cambodia, sexual abuse is likely to occur multiple times in childhood: more than 7 in 10 females and nearly 9 in 10 males who experienced sexual abuse experienced multiple incidents prior to age 18. Of those who first had sexual intercourse before age 18, one in four females and 1 in 11 males reported this intercourse as unwanted, meaning they were forced or coerced into sex.
More than 6% of females and 5% of males aged 13 to 17 in Cambodia reported at least one experience of childhood sexual abuse, according to the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, UNICEF Cambodia, 2014
Thank you for giving to empower the lives of women. With this update, we want to share a little bit about Nga*, a survivor who has recently arrived at Hagar Vietnam. To protect her identity, we have changed her name.
By supporting these women, you have become a part of their story as they journey to recovery.
Nga, 16 years old, survivor of human trafficking, 1 month at Hagar
Nga is a new client who joined Hagar Vietnam in early August. She was trafficked to China last year when she was only 15. Due to the family’s poor economic situation, Nga’s mother wanted her to look for a job. An elderly woman living in the neighborhood approached Nga’s family and told Nga that she could work as a babysitter for the her daughter in China. Nga’s mother agreed to let her go with the woman’s son to China, hoping she could earn some money to support the family. However, as soon as Nga arrived in China she was sold to a brothel. The next 15 days were a horrible nightmare as she were sexually abused by many different men.
Nga tried desperately to contact her family back home. Nga’s parents finally received the shocking news and were able to contact police to rescue her. The 15 year-old girl returned home hopeless and afraid for her future. Nga became quiet, unmotivated, and depressed. She ate very little, slept a lot, and had almost no connection with others.
Through a referral by the Center for Communication and Counseling Services, Nga was introduced to Hagar Since then, she has received comprehensive services for recovery and empowerment including safe accommodation, health care, counseling, therapeutic art activities, and career orientation. Nga meets with her counselor every week to learn coping skills. Being very determined to be a hairdresser, Nga was recently selected to participate in a 9- month training course by L’Oreal. Nga has shown her excitement to start the very first step to build her own life in Hanoi. To support Nga to the fullest, her case manager visited her parents in her hometown, listened to their difficulties and explained about the services provided to Nga and urged them to encourage Nga to do her best.
Nga still has a very long way to go but we are so proud of her. If you’d like to continue the journey with survivors like Nga, here are a few suggestions:
Thank you again!