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Wednesday, 01 October 2014 00:00

Dr. Thuy and Jesse Journal: I Violated the Sixth Commandment

Thursday, November 14, 2013

When people asked me if OBV is a Catholic organization, I've always told them: "Not really."

While the founder of OBV is a Catholic priest and the girls living in rehab houses are raised by a nun, OBV work is not exclusively Catholic. Only two or three of the 18 girls currently living at OBV house in Ho Chi Minh City are Catholic.

All the girls get a Catholic education at home because OBV believes this is the best way to raise and discipline children. True enough, no matter their background or how unruly they were at the beginning, after a few months with Sister Ngoc, these girls became among the most well-behaved kids I've met.

One of the girls in OBV house--a very pretty, quiet 10-year old I've talked to and hung out with a few times--is catholic and joins Sister Ngoc for Sunday mass. Only the catholic kids go to Sunday mass with Sister Ngoc, though everyone is encouraged to attend regardless of their religious background.

Everyone had always assumed that this girl was too young to have had First Communion rites because she was never seen to take communion in church. After dinner tonight, Sister Ngoc came up and told Father Martino, Jesse and I of her new discovery that the little girl had, in fact, had her First Communion.

Sister Ngoc asked the girl: "How come I never saw you receive communion at church?"

This girl innocently replied: "Because I violated the Sixth Commandment." (thou shalt not commit adultery)

Catholics believe that if you commit a major sin, you should not receive communion, which is the Body of Christ, before you've confessed and atoned for your sin. This little 10-year old who had been repeatedly sexually violated for years actually believed that her abuse was her own personal sin!

This exchange between Sister Ngoc and the girl addresses just how permanent the trauma from sexual abuse can be. Kids that are abused learned from their abusers that it's their own fault. While on the outside they may adapt and have moments of being a normal child, we don't know how much mental and emotional trauma they keep inside.

When Fr Martino and I heard about the girl's response, we both laughed at the absurdity of it. Because we knew that if we didn't laugh, we would cry.

by Thuy Do

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