Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — Nguyễn Thị Bích Ngọc tells her story in an autobiography recently launched by the Phụ Nữ (Women) Publishing House in HCM City.
The book titled Cát Hay Là Ngọc (Sandy or Ruby) was penned by journalist Hòa Bình and author Cỏ and is based on the life of Ngọc, a sexual abuse victim, who was courageous enough to stand up.
“I am telling my personal story for my own release and to share my experiences with other people," Ngọc said at the book launch ceremony. “I wish to feel peaceful from within.”
Ngọc is confident and has a smile on her face during the event. She used to suffer from depression and had nightmares for a long time because she did not dare tell her terrible secret to anyone.
Ngọc became a recluse, shunning family and friends.
“I forgot everything during the day when I was busy earning a living. But when night came, I could not sleep.”
Following the sexual abuse, Ngọc has become insecure and spurns all the men she meets. “I know it is not right, but I cannot overcome this.”
Her father died before she was born. Her mother, who was poor, could not afford to raise her and so Ngọc spent her childhood with her paternal and maternal grandparents.
She suffered from domestic violence and was sexual abused by a relative when she was eight years old.
At 19, she left her family to live with a community of sex workers. She was then sexually abused by her boyfriend.
In the 150-page book, Ngọc calls herself Ruby and Sandy. Ruby is her nickname during the bad times, while Sandy is the moniker for the new Ngọc seeking a different life.
A strong will and an inquiring mind helped Ngọc change her life.
“Sandy made a great effort to gain comprehensive knowledge and perfect her behaviour,” journalist Hòa Bình said.
“She also learned how to forgive people who were responsible for the darkness in her life. It is really difficult for unfortunate people like Sandy to overcome such trauma and begin a new life,” Bình said.
Present at the book launching were psychologists Nguyễn Thị Tâm, Lê Khanh and representatives from the Việt Nam Association for Protection Children’s Rights, Hope Unending - a non-profit organisation set up to abolish abuse and sexual exploitation in the nation - and the Pacific Link Foundation.
“I think Sandy cannot rehabilitate at present due to the mental trauma she suffered owing to her terrible past,” psychologist Tâm said. “If she needs more help, I’m willing to support her and hold therapy sessions.”
Journalist Bình also shared that she and her team have met other sex abuse victims like Sandy. They are haunted by the past and find it difficult to lead a normal life. Some of them are often too young to know how to express themselves, understand what is happening and seek help.
According to the latest Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs’s statistics, an estimated 1,000 Vietnamese children are sexually abused each year. Recent statistics from the Ministry of Public Security show that between 2011 and 2015, 5,300 of the 8,200 cases of child abuse related to sexual abuse.
Sandy is currently setting up a book library, one of the charity activities being carried out by her and her friends. — VNS