Her family lived in the marketplace. She had a clear voice and her dream was to become a singer. It was common knowledge in her small village that she longed to be a singer. It was with that knowledge that a neighbour lured her into his home, with promises of watching video clips of her favourite singer, Xuan Mai. She watched so passionately and so absorbed that she ignored her mother calling out and searching for her. Then the sexual abuse happened.
Her mother was sad and weepy, as we tried to earn her daughter's trust during our first meeting. The mother said: "She doesn't talk or laugh, or watch Xuan Mai singing anymore. She's changed completely".
She kept repeating the terrible ordeal, and what the neighbour had done to her poor daughter. She spoke loudly and clearly, all in front of young Xiu Xiu, who quietly asked why she kept talking about it. Xiu Xiu was brushed off 'just forget it'. Xiu Xiu remained quiet for the rest of the visit.
When I mentioned to the mother about our house...a safe place for her daughter to grow and move on from this ordeal with the right facilities to repair the mental damage, as well as provide education in a new school where nobody would know her story, the mother immediately shut down the idea. "People will say I can't raise my only daughter...they'll laugh at me!". Although she denied us, she kept asking about this house from time to time.
She loved her daughter, and wanted to try and resolve the issue. But, poverty and illiteracy of her and her neighbours would only cause more damage to Xiu Xiu.
Her situation continues to deteriorate. It's clear she can't let go of the horrible ordeal that happened to her. She's confused, withdrawn into isolation....and has even quit her dreams of becoming a singer. All the naive and innocent dreams of a child shattered.
But what can we do now, when a mother's love for her child comes out the wrong way, and is destroying her child's life even more....??
N.H. September 25th 2017
Translated by Jaqueline Huynh and Mr. Phung. The original version in Vietnamese entitled "Đó Là Chuyện Xấu, Quên Nó Đi!"