Born into a poor family, in my childhood, I always had to witness my father beating my mother. While my family was penniless, my father did not try hard to work. He was always chasing my mother around the village and beating her. Hurt, I had an inferior complex and felt ashamed in front of my friends. I did not feel at home in my own house.
When I finished middle school, I dropped out of school and travel South for work. But I didn't have enough documents to find a job. In 2009, when I returned to register for ID card, I was abducted by a man who forced me to become his wife. I tried to run away but was caught again and finally had to agree to be his wife. In 2010, I gave birth to a baby boy. When my son was two months old, he got sick. However, it was unclear what he got. I wanted to take him to a doctor, but my mother-in-law prohibited it. She forced him to be treated with tobacco (oriental medicine), and then he died. At that time, I was very depressed and went through excruciating grief. When my son was still alive, he was my only joy given that my husband was a violent alcoholic who beat me often, his family was also apathetic to me. That was why I did not want to live anymore when losing my child.
At that time, due to a lack of information and knowledge, and going out was restrained and controlled, I continued to endure. In 2014, I had a baby girl. I thought that as we have a child, my husband would change. I found my hope and joy again, I played with my child and took care of her to raise my spirits, but still, my husband didn't change.
In 2016, I decided to go to a labor export company to find a job abroad to change my life. At that time, the company did not provide enough information and I also didn't receive basic training, so I fell into another cycle of violence. In August 2016, I flew to Saudi Arabia to work as a domestic helper for a family. The boss lady and the host family were also violent. They often physically, verbally, and emotionally assaulted me and didn't pay my salary in full. She often made excuses to deduct my salary. For example, when she got angry, she violently threw things and deducted my salary for damaged items. I had to work from 5:30 am to 12:30 pm, without any rest. When I arrived, they took away my phone and documents. It was a vast house where neighbors lived far from each other, so I didn't know how to contact people in Vietnam or get outside.
When I finally managed to contact my family, I shared with my husband's family that I was not fully paid and wanted to go home -but my family-in-law told me not to go back if I didn't have money. I was very disappointed to hear that. Even when I said that my boss-lady was violent, my family-in-law did not believe me nor sympathize with me. At that time, I didn't know whom I could count on. I felt defeated and was just waiting to die.
Every time I felt like that, I thought of my child, of what made me decide to go to change my life and find a lifeline. One time, I lied to the boss lady that I had managed to call someone in Vietnam and reported her abuses to the Vietnamese Embassy and the labor export agency in Vietnam. I said that if she didn't let me go, she would be held accountable. Maybe that was why she was afraid and bought me a plane ticket with my money.
The flight from Saudi Arabia to Vietnam was probably the longest flight of my life. I looked forward to returning home every second of every minute. I had to take two connecting flights from Saudi Arabia to Kuala Lumpur and from Kuala Lumpur to Vietnam. I don't speak English very well, so I was very nervous. When I landed at Noi Bai Airport and saw the word Vietnam, I burst into joy. At that moment, I realized I had really made it back to my home country alive.
When I got back to Vietnam, I didn't know where to go as I didn't have much money left and due to the violent tendency of my family-in-law, I couldn't and didn't dare to go home. When I was in my hometown, I went to any lengths to get help but did not receive any support. People think that's the way it's supposed to be, the men rightfully have all the power and the women have to suffer. If a woman resists and gets divorced, she will be seen as a corrupted daughter-in-law.
I turned to Peace House for support. I didn't think such a good place existed. They embraced me when I felt most helpless and lost!