She was abused by her own biological father at the age of 16, maybe 17. "She was really pretty, with hair that cascaded down her back not unlike that of an angel" remembers a staff member from a shelter just outside Ho Chi Minh City.
She also had a really beautiful name, meaning a bright and beautiful day. You would think that parents who name a child with such a meaningful moniker would be that with a strong education, or at the very least, a strong moral.
But no. Despite having been born and raised in District -- an area not that far from the city centre of Saigon, her family was far from civilized. When we arrived at her house to collect precious paperwork, her birth certificate, so that we could process and accept her into our home, her mother dug full a box infested with dead cockroaches, until finding her paperwork, almost destroyed by rodents.
We'll call her Angel for this story!
"Miss, can I leave her here with you, I'm never coming back"
Angel was a beautiful girl, but was a little slow on the developmental side. When she was taken into the first shelter, the sisters there had to teach her literally everything from the very beginning. She couldn't speak, but was always smiling. Her chores such as cleaning vegetables, cleaning the house....they were done very carefully, but also very slowly.
When her mother passed away, Angel was left alone with her father.
And it was then, that he started to rape her.
A trip to visit the family of a survivor, to talk to them about the option they may have to remove their child from an area of such high risk of being abused
On this particular day, before heading out to her tutoring class, she kept reminding her mother over and over to make sure to put on lots of layers of pants for her. The weather in Saigon was balmy, for what reason would she have to wear multiple pants, especially as she was well toilet trained. Concerned, the mother asked her why, to which she replied: "that man (the husband of her tutor) always takes my pants off....please put on extra pants so he can't take them off!
In Vietnam, according to the statistics from relevant authorities, on average every year sees over 1,200 children sexually abused, with another 2,000 cases of child abuse. In particular, the incidences of children being sexually abused continues to rise, with the cases also increasing in severity and complicated nature.
Abandoned by her father, and a merchant mother trying to make ends meet in a town far away, she was sent to live with her mother's sister and her husband. On one particular day, a neighbor happened to see the child and her uncle standing, with her in front bent forward, while he pressed his body against her, running his hands up and down her back. The neighbor immediately reported this to the authorities. And just in the nick of time: The uncle, caught in a compromising position, was 'only' performing lewd acts, but had not yet raped, nor had intentions to rape the child. She was only 12.
Up to 90% of incidences where young children are abused come from adults already known to the family, and usually occur because these vile adults have gained the trust of the family to have access to this child alone. Many perpetrators are patient, choosing and grooming the child very carefully, all the while gaining the child's parents/family's trust. Why do they put so much effort into these perverted activities? Obviously because they don't want to be caught. All of their extracurricular activities need to be done with utmost secrecy.
60% of children who are abused or raped grow up with abnormal behavior patters. They are complex, nervous suspicious and in general quite withdrawn from people
On the occasion of Thanksgiving, OBV would like to send our appreciation for another year of productive & effective work that reflect our & your commitment and belief in OBV Mission.
The year 2016 places emphasis on victim and survivor-centered approach in addressing the prevention and treatment of trauma as well as in public awareness and outreach on child sex exploitation and trafficking. OBV continues to educate others on the definition of child sex trafficking and sex trafficking.(1)
All of these work would not have been possible without your ardent support, your active participation and encouragement in words and kinds which propel us forward despite challenges. Even your thoughtful criticism helps us to be better in our service.
"Thank you" is not sufficient. OBV deeply appreciates all of you, each and everyone of you. May the good things in life be yours always, on Thanksgiving and throughout the year.
Sex trafficking: When an adult engages in a commercial sex act, such as prostitution, as the result of force, threats of force, fraud, coercion or any combination of such means, that person is a victim of trafficking.... This is true even if the adult previously consented to engage in such activities.
Child Sex Trafficking: When a minor is recruited, enticed, harbored, transported, provided, obtained, advertised, maintained, patronized, or solicited to engage in a commercial sex act, proving force, fraud, or coercion is not required.
Gia đình Một Thân Hình (OBV) xin thân ái chào các con, các cộng tác viên và các quý vị ân nhân…
Trong dịp Lễ Tạ Ơn, OBV xin gởi lời tri ân đến quý vị vì thành quả của OBV trong năm qua đạt dược là nhờ niềm tin vào sứ mạng của OBV và sự ủng hộ không ngừng của quý vị.
Trong năm 2016, OBV đã chú trọng đến các nạn nhân (đặc biệt là trong các trại), đến việc phòng chống và chữa trị tâm lý cũng như nâng cao nhận thức của cộng đồng về tệ nạn buôn bán và khai thác tình dục trẻ em. Chúng tôi vẫn luôn kiên trì tiếp tục tuyên truyền về tệ nạn về mua bán tình dục (nhất là mua bán tình dục trẻ em). (1)
Tất cả những công việc trên của OBV sẽ không thể thực hiện được nếu không có sự tham gia và ủng hộ của quý vị. Những lời động viên, an ủi của quý vị đã giúp chúng tôi vượt qua rất nhiều những khó khăn và trở ngại. Ngay cả những lời chỉ trích thật lòng cũng đã giúp chúng tôi làm việc tốt hơn
"Cảm ơn" thôi vẫn chưa đủ, OBV chân thành tri ân tất cả các bạn. Cầu xin mọi điều tốt đẹp nhất sẽ đến mỗi bạn, trong dịp Lễ Tạ Ơn và suốt cả năm.
Cha Thông & BS Thanh-Tâm
Buôn bán tình dục: Khi một người trên tuổi vị thành niên thực hiện một hành động tình dục có tính cách thương mại (ví dụ như: mại dâm) bởi bị áp lực kết quả của sự bắt buộc, lừa dối, đe dọa, cưỡng ép … đều là nạn nhân của việc buôn bán tình dục… Họ cũng là nạn nhân mặc dầu trước đó họ đã đồng ý tham gia vào mại dâm với áp lực.
Buôn bán tình dục ở trẻ em: Khi một người dưới tuổi vị thành niên được tuyển chọn, dụ dỗ, nuôi dưỡng, di chuyển, cung cấp, quảng cáo, duy trì, bảo trợ hoặc trưng cầu để tham gia vào hành động tình dục có tính cách thương mại …; trẻ đó là nạn nhân của việc buôn bán tình dục - không cần thiết phải được chứng minh là trẻ bị ép buộc, lừa dối, đe dọa hoặc cưỡng ép.
I have already shared with you some disturbing stories of children who have detrimental side effects from being victims of abuse: from mental anguish to inappropriate behavior, such as one of our youngest survivors, who at 5 years old would only want to watch movies with 'naked people', or our 8 year olds who wanted to drink wine with every meal. But is was our 'Little White' that captured the compassion of all the sisters in the house, a child whose body was so violated she was left with a broken pelvis, and of course....a broken spirit.
The first few months of living in the house, Little White didn't open for mouth to say anything. She would sit, curled up in a ball on a chair all day, her eyes staring but not seeing anything. After every meal, out of pure habit, she would go through the trash to look for more food. If she needed to use the restroom, she would crawl into a cupboard, or a hole in the wall....and never use the bathroom, despite being taught over and over.
At 5 years old, she could not complete a full sentence. Throughout the whole first year, the sisters patiently and tirelessly tried to teach her...by the end of it, she only absorbed exactly 3 new words, and 4 or 5 numbers and letters.
"The strangest point of all, was that she was unable to express the most basic of commands or needs, such as 'hungry', 'thirsty'....but she was able to swear and cuss that would put a sailor to shame" - House Mother.
When we accept girls into our family, they not only have a chance at education, but they get to explore extracurricular interests, such as drawing/arts and other creative outlets
"A child of only 12, with an impoverished background, was placed in the care of a shelter where she was ultimately raped. Her mother withdrew her immediately and brought her home to stay with her family. And here, in the family home, she was raped again by her uncle..."
A brief introduction
Those inflicted with the sickness that is pedophilia are only attracted to pre-pubescent children; yet the majority of the cases that we have been confronted with are even morbid and obscene...where age, size, and gender doesn't matter, but the need to attack and control a victim is what drives their animal urges. A victim could be anyone: a child, a teenager, a school kid, an adult, male or female....when we are facing such depravity, no child is safe, no child is an exception to the cruelty.
The pain of a victim of sexual abuse will carry on far longer than her childhood years
Houston OBV 1st garage sales on 9/24/2016. We collected $1091. More money to our OBV kids!
Thanks to those donated the items. It was a fun bonding productive Saturday for us.
You can still participate in helping by buying our raffle tickets with a chance to win a brand new 2016 Toyota Tacoma truck, or attending our gala for fun.
Auction items online (you don't have to be at the Gala to put in bids) http://www.bid4real.com/c83/index.htm
It was a beautiful Sunday morning, a day where after a long week of work, we'd like nothing more than to relax with our friends and family, head off to the movies, and organize dinners and social events. Of course, for the One Body Village Vietnam family (Nhip Cau Hanh Phuc), we had other plans: To travel to the Thai Thien Parish in Dong Nai province, and give a seminar on basic sexual education, and prevention of child sex abuse.
Leaving at 5.30 in the morning from district 1, our group of 5 arrived at the Thai Thien Parish at 8.15am. Father Bao and the Youth Group leaders, Sunday School teachers had worked hard in the month leading up to this event to ensure a good turn out. The kids were divided into two age groups: the 6-12 year olds, and the 13-18 year olds.
Our family home came across a case of two sisters, both sexually abused. The stories that they would tell you are sometimes too real, too heinous, too evil to believe.
Let's start off with a brief introduction to our family:
Most of the girls here are as young as 2 and 3 years old and range through to prepubescent years, about 11 or 12. Disheveled hair, sweat dripping off every crevice from playing and running in the sun. One child sits with a head full of lice. One child tries to hide the evidence of her nightly bed wetting problem, but the stench of urine in her clothes, her bedding, herself...it doesn't go away. The bulk of the girls come from poor families, all of them underweight with darkened skin from the harsh Vietnam sun. Their clothes are ripped, faded, stained. They look like typical street kids. The kind you see lingering at the markets, in the alleyways of the ghetto, by the rice fields.....
- We were informed recently that checks sent to OBV were not cashed. We appreciate your support to help us realize our mission. Please verify OBV correct address before sending check to us as follows:
505 Harbour Gate Cir
Alpharetta, GA 30022
Your continuing support in prayers and kinds help us do our daily works!
- Kính thưa quý ân nhân và quý vị,
Có người thông báo là có gửi check nhưng OBV không nhận được. Xin quý vị kiểm tra địa chỉ như sau:
505 Harbour Gate Cir
Alpharetta, GA 30022
Xin cảm ơn sự ủng hộ & tấm lòng của tất cả quý vị để giúp OBV thi hành sứ mệnh.
an old article...
To prepare for the project of the OBV House for boys suffering from sexual exploitation, OBV has visited and shared experience of taking care of the boys at Son Ky Orphanage where nearly 50 boys who have difficult circumstances need help.
Entering the house, we were surprised at the boys' neatness and tidiness.
An old article...
OBV has just welcomed two guests: Ms. Nhu Loan - singer of Thuy Nga Music Center and Tram Vo. They are those who has the same desire to help the children with unlucky circumstances, to visit and communicate with them.
During the conversation, Ms. Nhu Loan asked the children , "What do you want to do in the future?"
A girl has a dream to be a teacher, one wants to be an architect, another wants to work on Art area, one who admires Ms. N. – the nun who manages OBV, wants to be a nun in the future. The most impressive dream is the dream of a small seven-year-old girl who has just been brought to OBV: "I want to be a police officer to ... revenge..." an innocent dream however it reveals the hatred of a little girl, or a girl wants to be a doctor to treat her mom. What Ms. Nhu Loan talked sincerely to the children is even more touching "When I was a little girl, I didn't know how to dream so just until now I can do what I really want to do. You have to learn to dream, when you have dream, you have a target to strive for and you will succeed more easily.
Everyone was loath to part each other, hope to meet you two again in the near future.
June 26, 2011
Translated by Tho Nguyen. The original version in Vietnamese entitled "Nhật Ký OBV: Có Ước Mơ - Có Thành Công"