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Friday, 26 September 2014 00:00

A Fate Like Weed

Little C., her sister, and her grandparents

It was stormy weather in Vietnam at this time of the year. Rain fell in the mornings, in the afternoons, and at nights. Heavy rain drops fell down and mixed with her blood and tears.

After several phone conversations with the OBV volunteers, I got her address. Together with T., a volunteer, I went to her house under the heavy rain. After over 30 minutes' ride on a motorbike, T. and I were soaked with water even though each of us had a raincoat on. We had made an appointment with some local officers from a women's support agency, so upon our arrival, we found them there to accompany us to Little C's house. We would like to learn about her situation and persuade her and her family.

Her house

Little C. was 6 years old and had never been to school. Her father had a light mental problem after a disease. Her mother was a philanderer who abandoned her husband and children. Little C and her younger sister lived with their maternal grandparents. Their father lived and worked far from home. He only visited the children once or twice every month. Her grandparents were in their sixties. Grandpa still climbed the coconut trees to pick the coconuts for hire. Grandma also worked for hire. She grew up without mother's love, and without father's care. Her grandparents were too busy making ends meet to really take good care of their grandchildren. So she just grew up everyday like weed. Her fate worsened when he came.

Little C

He came to her house with a bulb of sweet potato and told her to go with him to a deserted place. To a hungry child, a bulb of sweet potato was a treasure. Without waiting for her to eat up the potato, he took off her clothes and raped her. She screamed when she realized the pain, but he gagged her mouth with his hands, and continued with his animal instincts while she got unconscious. After that, he went away and left her there under the rain.

When her grandpa came home, he found Little C. crawling home from the rear of the house. Her blood and tears mingled with rain. Her cry was weak amid thunders.

Her doctor said she was lucky not to die, because in many such a case, continued hemorrhage could lead to death. He was arrested right in the night.

But the day she left the hospital was also the day he was released due to "not enough proof." His rich family held a party to celebrate his release from jail. His house was near her house, so from his house, the sound of laughter and chatter came to her house while she lied there with her physical and psychological wounds.

I talked to her grandparents about the life of the children at OBV, where she could find a place to heal her wounds and have a better future. Her grandparents would like her to move to an OBV house, but they still had to wait for her father's approval.

I left her house with a heavy heart. I wished to bring her away immediately, far from the looks of the neighbours, far from the life of a weed, in order to heal her wounds. But I still had to wait...

Thien Dang

July, 2014

Translated by Bich Thuy.  Original version in Vietnamese entitled "Số Phận: Như là Cỏ Dại"


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