Name: Hoai Chu Thi Thu
Organization: Vietnam’s Center for Studies and Applied Sciences in Gender – Family – Women and Adolescents (CSAGA)
Awards/Achievements: 1) Survivor of domestic violence; 2) Advocate/volunteering to help disadvantaged people; 3) Model student at school with good grades
When I was 13 years old, my mother was beaten to death by my father and his family members. The court had to review the case many times, but finally, with the support of voluntary lawyers and CSAGA reporters, all the people who caused the death of my mother were put into prison for seven to more than ten years. The CSAGA supported me and my brother financially until we were 18, and I now aspire to be a lawyer who protects the rights of vulnerable and marginalized people. To help me achieve that goal, I’m taking the University Entrance Exam for the Trade University’s Law Department. (Update: Hoai has passed her University exams with flying colors and will begin her studies in law when the semester begins.) I’m also volunteering as a social worker to serve disadvantaged people.
Violence against girls, including sexual abuse, is one of the most serious issues in my country. In 2011, the Vietnamese police discovered an adolescent prostitute network in Ha Giang Province and found that the leader of the network was a high school headmaster. This teacher forced many girls from grades 10 to 12 to have sex with him and then forced them to become prostitutes. In addition, domestic violence against women/girls is very common in Vietnam. According to national research on domestic violence in 2010, up to 58% of Vietnamese women have suffered from physical, psychological or economic violence.
I have given talks in school to share my story and encourage others to say no to violence. Why do I want to join the Ambassador program? Because I want to tell my story of violence to many people in Asia and encourage them to break the cycle of violence.