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Effort To Survive

Yesterday, I read on a magazine about Linor and the documentary. I was very touch. Today, I go to your website and think that I must share my own story.

It was the night of Saturday the 16th November 2013 in Brussels, Belgium.
In July 2013, when I was 21 years-old, I received a full scholarship to study my last undergraduate year in Brussels. With a Vietnamese young girl like me, this was a golden opportunity to go far and explore the world. I arrived to Belgium in August 2013.

On Thursday the 14th November 2013, a male student from the same home university visited me. He went to Europe with the same scholarship as me, but to Warsaw, Poland. When I was in Vietnam, this boy was recognized as one of the best students in our home university due to his study results and his polite appearance. So I trusted in him voluntarily and treated him friendly, even I hadn’t talked much with him before. At first, I planed to let him sleep in the living room, but I thought that might disturb other international students in the same apartment. So I let him sleep in my room, but on the floor. I borrowed blanket and everything needed for him. Because my mother was nurse and because I am a biomedical student, taking care of people is my nature. I didn’t notice that my kindness would harm me.

I was only able to bring him visit around on Saturday (the day he would leave at night), because I must attend lectures on weekdays. Saturday morning, when we left my building, he suddenly asked about my boyfriend. I told him that my boyfriend broke with me before my departure to Belgium. In the evening, after a long day walking, we came back to my room. I had hypotension because of the cold weather – coming from a tropical country, I had never experienced such cold weather! So I took a nap while he packaged his luggage in order to leave to the airport a few hours later.

When I was napping, I suddenly recognized that he went to my bed. I woke up but I felt very weak because of headache and dizziness. He started touching my body, and I was very scared. I’m only 1m50, too smaller than his height of upper 1m70. I asked him to stop but he didn’t. He asked if I had never had sex before. No, I said, my ex-boyfriend and me had never been in a same room. I followed Asian tradition and was still virgin. But he didn’t stop. He undressed me despite of my supplication. I wanted to call the police, but my phone was far from me – and because my room had knife and scissor – I was afraid that he might kill me… I felt that I was the meat at the market. I wanted to vomit of his rude words. I continued to pray to him to leave me alone. My vagina was dried and painful because of his violent fingers. He required me to masturbate him by hand and mouth before he went inside me. I decided in one second that if I satisfied him, his desire would be reduced and he would free me. So I masturbated him by my best, and he erected on my hand. He left to the bathroom when I was still crying on my bed. I couldn’t think about police anymore. I felt empty. He left after that.

The following week, I continued to felt empty, but was still conscious to go to class. I felt hurt when urinating but was too scared to consult doctors. But that Friday evening, I had the washing gel bottle fall down and must clean the floor by my hands. When I touched the gel, something familiar returned back in my head. The boy’s semen. All the fear of that Saturday night suddenly came back. I saw the boy everywhere in my room, I hear his rude words and his horrible laugh. I screamed and ran to the living room. From that day, I studied in library and only came back to my room late at night to sleep. I didn’t contact anyone, neither my family in Vietnam. Then I entered to period which was 10 days long. I lost much blood and all my energy. I was unable to go class, neither to the supermarket (which is far from the campus). I stayed starving day after day on the bed, sinked in both physical and mental pain.

Until a day I recognized that I was wasting my precious youth and my precious opportunity to study in Europe for that kind of memories. I called a Myanmar doctor who was following the same scholarship but at Postdoc level at the same Belgian university. She brought food to me and some meat and ingredients for me to cook in the following days. I ate very well after long time starving. I felt happy and understood that I must have a huge change.

In the next week, I went to hospital to ask for becoming weekend volunteer. Although I failed all the exams of the 1st semester, it didn’t matter. And miracles began with me. In the 2nd semester, at the same time I attended courses, followed a 5-month part-time internship in laboratory, did volunteer and participated in trainings when I could. I prayed at the Catholic church twice a week. I got in touch with the priest and so many kind local people in the same hospital voluntear group. I sent my save money to my mother at home to pay back some amounts we borrowed before. And in the end of June 2014, I retook all my exams, gained some certificates and successfully defended my Bachelor’s Thesis in front of a jury of 7 professors at the Belgian university.

I went back to Vietnam in July 2014. Until now, I still keep silent with my family about that bad experience. I worry that my parents would be depressed. I also don’t talk with my home university. In my country, people still look down on girls or women who have been raped. But I have succeed my own fear. I am passionate in public health nutrition. Now I’m working as a teaching assistant in waiting for the opportunity to study a master course. I wish to devote my life to help vulnerable people. I also wish to become an activist for woman.

— Anh


  • Alissa Ackerman
  • Cami
  • Dior van Leeuwen


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