Accompanying women’s development

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Linh Anh
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Twince time visits Peace House Shelter

Peace House Shelter has received multiple cases of temporary shelter more than once, with some individuals even coming back five times. This story is about a case of someone coming to PHS twice for two different reasons...

The first time to the Peace House Shelter...
In June 2013, PHS received two victims who were sold to China and were brought back by the Criminal Police Department (C45). One of them was B.N, a 17-year-old girl from Central Vietnam. She came to Hanoi with a female friend and met two young boys. Despite it being their first time in the capital and meeting new friends, they agreed without hesitation to go to the border to play. They were quickly sold to a brothel in China. One month later, they were lucky to be rescued by the local police and returned to Vietnam.

Leaving China's territory, N.'s mother picked her up at the border gate. A few days later, her parents contacted the PHS to request temporary residence for their daughter. Besides the fear of their neighbors' judgment, there was another more difficult reason: they felt helpless with their unwise daughter.

During the first days at the PHS, N. showed rebellious behavior and often violated the rules, ignoring reminders. She was uncooperative and did not like a disciplined life. Feeling uneasy and suffocated at the PHS, she asked to leave after a few weeks.

After her temporary absence, she told her family she would return to the House of Peace with her friend, but they both stopped in the middle of the way. Her relatives found them in a drug-induced state at a train station. Worried that their daughter was heavily addicted, they confined her at home for monitoring and management. In July 2013, the PHS closed their case but maintained contact with the family to stay informed.

In September 2013, N. got married. Her husband was actually her ex-boyfriend before she was sold to China. He worked as a driver and grew up in a violent family environment, witnessing his drunken father chasing his mother. Lacking care and attention, he dropped out of school, joined a gang, used drugs, and got involved in fights. However, N. accepted to marry him because she thought she was "lucky to find someone who doesn't care about her past of being sold to China." However N.'s mother just wanted someone else to "guide" her daughter.

These two person like two pieces with numerous faults, only worsened each other's lives when combined. After getting married, they constantly argued and clashed. N's husband continued with his rebellious lifestyle, fighting, demanding owed debts, using drugs, leaving home, and cheated on her. N. had no job, no money, and suffered from domestic violence. Interestingly that N.'s mother supported this situation, believing that "violence will make N. more righteous." The mother-in-law was also dissatisfied with N., criticizing and nagging at her daughter-in-law every day.

The second time coming back...

Life became even darker when N. got pregnant but had a miscarriage. Exhausted and worn out from physical abuse and verbal insults by her husband, N. sought help from her mother and escaped from her marital home. Fearing that son-in-law would come looking for trouble, N.'s mother contacted the management of PHS and N. returned to PHS in February 2014. This time, N. cameback PHS with the reason of domestic violence.

The first month at PHS, N.'s mood was extremely terrible. She felt trapped, desperate, and without an escape due to the fear of her husband who had a habit of behaving like a gangster. She wanted to divorce her husband but faced difficulties because her mother intervened extensively, giving her almost no autonomy to make her own decisions. Her mother was afraid of revenge from her son-in-law, so she wanted to push N back to her husband. The husband, on the other hand, did not want a divorce. N. cried a lot, was always tense, and easily provoked.

Realizing that N.'s mental state was unstable and required deep therapy, the staff at PHS used various methods to help stabilize her emotions and heal her "wounds". In addition to individual counseling sessions and regular activities at PHS, the management staff took her to see a psychiatrist at a hospital and worked with the doctor to come up with a comprehensive therapy plan for six months. Finally, after the efforts of both the counseling staff and the doctor, N. changed her mindset and determined her goals and plans. She decided to divorce her husband and learn a trade to seek a new life in a different location far from her hometown.

Besides the psychological recovery, N. was also encouraged to learn a trade for stability and suitability. From March 2014, N. was introduced to a three-month bartending vocational training course at Reach Center. During the learning period, N. tried her best to overcome many difficulties and obstacles: difficulty in escaping the control of her violent husband; difficulty in persuading her mother to stop intervening and arranging N.'s life according to her own desires; difficulty in integrating and communicating with temporary residents and classmates. Especially, N. learned to confront herself, heal past wounds, build disciplined living habits and positive thinking, self-love, and love for life...

In June 2014, after completing the vocational training course, N. went for an interview and was accepted for a six-month advanced training course to become a bartender at upscale hotels. After receiving advice from the sisters and aunties at PHS, N. decided to continue her education to have the opportunity to work in her desired field as a 5-star hotel employee...

Life gradually turned a new page for the young girl who was not yet 20 years old. After finishing her education, she will be able to decide her own life in the most righteous way. We believe she will find personal happiness in the not too distant future.

- Notes from PHS staff member - July 2014 -

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