National TV MC accused of child abuse; public and family of abused child blame on child
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Yesterday, 26 May 2018, D., a 16-year-old Vietnamese made a post on her Facebook account, in which she detailed the abuse she suffered at the hands of her eldest sister’s husband, whom she referred to as “it”. (I have translated the post here; it’s long but bear with me.)
Excerpts from the translation of the post:
1. “To be honest, I was beaten throughout my 6th grade year. It continually used a long stick, broken from a piece of wood it found somewhere, to beat me, and all I could do was to kneel on the floor and cry my heart out. Do you know why it beat me? Because I had a crush on someone. I had no idea whether it spied on me or asked the guards in my school to spy on me or anything, but one day it called me to stand in front of it and threatened me: “don’t you dare fooling around, I know it all, I’ve had the guards spy on you and also come to meet the kid that you like”. I ask all of you, what kind of person would speak like this to his younger sister-in-law? When I began living with it, it did converse with my parents about “supervising”, “thinking of her as my biological sister”, so sure, I sort of obeyed and let it beat me. It used its stick to hit me and that hurt so much, and it’d always hit me in the legs and thighs so even if I came to the class the next day, my classmates wouldn’t be able to see the bruises. I liked someone, it beat me; I got low marks, it hit me too. My 6th-grade year was really hell on earth to me, apart from the fact that I still had friends at school.”
2. “Last night, it slapped and punched me in the face.
Yesterday was the closing ceremony of my school year, I hung out with my friends and was very fatigued when I got home, so I slept from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. before getting up to take a bath. I knew it tended to return at this hour so I tried to bathe myself the fastest I could so the monster could use the bathroom to change its clothes. And no, it wasn’t returning from work, it was returning from hanging out, I have to add this so people wouldn’t misinterpret that I disturbed it when it’d just returned from work and wanted to have a bath before calling it a day. And while I was in the bathroom, it stood outside and continually yelled at me, quote unquote, “Hurry up you bitch, what the fuck have you been doing all day to only take a bath now?” I tried to hold myself down and got out when I finished. When I got out, I passed by it sitting at the kitchen table and said its voice sounded as if it was, quote unquote, “the navel of the world” and went straight for my room. It called me back and asked: “What did you just say?”, I responded: “I said it already, if you didn’t hear it I wouldn’t say again” and it ran for me pulled me back, its finger pointed right at my face: “Repeat what you just said! You believe I can slap you to death?” and I said: “Do it, I dare you touch me”. And just as expected, it slapped me and my head was jolted aside. I gathered all my strength into my hand to hit it but my shoulder’s joint dislocated immediately. (It’s bigger and more muscular than me but I’m pretty strong because I play sports). And then it punched right into my face and my mouth. […] After that I couldn’t restrain myself anymore and lashed out at him, telling him that within the 16 years of my life my parents had not even punched me, let alone punched to the point of bleeding like this abomination, and that “a thug will always be a thug” (it tends to brag that it and its brother learned martial arts, were acquainted with gangsters and had the “blood of a thug”). So it charged straight into my room, continued punching me and pushed me into the edge of the bed. Fortunately, only my legs, my thighs and my back hit the bed, not my head. And it was also fortunate that my sister and the housemaid came to intervene, or else the beast would’ve killed me.”
The post received wide attention and support from thousands of people. But soon D.’s family found out and the abuser—D.’s brother-in-law—messaged people to stop sharing because they weren’t in the room where it happened. Her parents also forced her to delete it, which she did after less than three hours of resisting since it was published.
After the post was deleted, D.’s abuser used his connections to newspapers to publicly denounce D., saying it was all fake, and that he installed cameras in the house so everything was filmed, yet gave no footage when asked. He even claimed D. tried to attack him and his children with a pair of scissors, which was proven false by D.’s classmates and friends, because D. was actually using the scissors for self-defense when he charged into her room, before her sister and the housemaid intervened.
He went on to say that D. was a bad pupil, she got very horrible marks and was actually the lowest-ranked student in her 7th grade year in terms of school performance, which was also proven false by her friends, some of whom are currently studying with her in a class specialized in Biology at Hanoi-Amsterdam High School, probably the most prestigious, most selective high school in the country. Think Harvard but it’s a Vietnamese high school that requires you to achieve at least 8 out of 10 in the entrance exams to be admitted. Even if she was the lowest-ranked in the class during her 7th grade year, the fact that she got into this school two years later meant that she’d worked really hard for it.
In addition, he claimed she was violent and could hit her friends at any time. D., also proven by her friends to be a silent bookworm, was the opposite of that. He even mentioned the fact that she had a crush when she was in her 6th grade in order to vilify the very sister-in-law that he had no rights to abuse.
Even D.’s other elder sister, who has been abroad for 4 years, whom D. found “futile” reaching out to, comes out to defend her brother-in-law, saying that her sister was a genius for making up the entire story, and that her brother-in-law was too good a person to ever abuse anyone.
Rumors circulate around the Internet that her parents—one of which is the director of a central maternity hospital—alienated D. since she was born because she was an unwanted child. Vietnam had a two-child policy and she, being the third child they didn’t want, was estranged by not only her parents who are officials, but other family members as well. Initially, when the sister who’s abroad went on Facebook to denounce D., one of this sister’s friends made a comment with surprise that they didn’t know she had a younger sister. However, when Facebook users joked on D.’s own post that the same sister might have slept with the brother-in-law, hence her defense, D. herself replied to them and asked them not to “think of my family like that”.
Although many people have shown their support for D., the majority of people chooses to side with her abuser, who, as a famous MC, knew enough journalists to publicly denounce his sister. Today is the first day of the summer vacation, but D.’s parents have sent back to her hometown in Ninh Bình, 90 kilometers away from her friends in Hanoi. She told her friends she felt safer here; however, her abuser’s denouncing her didn’t stop; at the moment more and more seemed to believe and side with him other than the 16-year-old girl he abused. We fear VTV – the national TV broadcaster where he works – will even try to cover this up, because that’s what Vietnamese news outlets tend to do in the recent months, even in the face of our own #MeToo movement.
So I beg of you, I beg of anyone who reads this, to please share this story to the world, to anyone who can help D. regain justice for her life, because not only is she being alienated from her family, but she’s also being blamed on by the media for the abuse she has had to suffer for the last 4 years. A few human rights organizations have tried reaching out to her, but to no avail, for she’s not in Hanoi anymore. I don’t know her personally, I learn about her through the very post that she made yesterday, but it’s horrible that she has to go through all of this abuse and even backlash. Please share this, make this known and bring justice back to D.
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