‘T’ is a 14 year old deaf and intellectually impaired boy from Nghe An Province in central Vietnam, who was savagely beaten and raped by a neighbour in October 2014. This is one of the worst cases of sexual exploitation of a vulnerable child we have seen and it shocked us all.
Blue Dragon’s legal team was alerted to this case and immediately mobilised our supporters who raised $2,868 for the campaign.
These funds provided:
- The treatment of T’s appalling injuries
- Legal advocacy and representation in court
- Care for T and his family whilst they recover from their ordeal
In March 2015 T’s attacker faced court and was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment. While this punishment is very low by international standards, the fact that the he went to court at all is a major achievement; in Vietnam, the sexual abuse of boys is not yet against the law. Sadly, it has exposed a truth about the abuse and exploitation of boys in Vietnam, and highlighted the urgent issue of ensuring that the sexual abuse of boys becomes a criminal act. At present, under Vietnamese law, it is not a crime for a boy to be sexually abused.
T has been unable to fully communicate since birth. Born with severe disabilities, his family was too poor to afford any treatment or interventions. As a result, it was impossible for ‘T’ to let the court know what happened to him and there was no proof other than bruises and scars on his face and body. This also contributed to the sentencing result.
The perpetrator will suffer more than his prison sentence and the payment of compensation. The case was tried in the local court, so the surrounding community knows his crime and will be watching him. Blue Dragon received a great deal of interest and attention from both local authorities and the general public, which has increased awareness of the issue throughout Vietnam.
The good news is that T has completely recovered physically from his ordeal. On a recent visit to Blue Dragon’s Centre in Hanoi, our Disability Coordinator took T to hospital for a full checkup. She also talked at length with his parents, showing them how to care for T at home and teaching him some basic skills. Blue Dragon will keep in touch with the family; most importantly, they know we are here to help them whenever they need support.
All hospital and recovery bills have been paid, and all the costs of bringing the abuser to justice have also been covered. Now, Blue Dragon will continue to advocate to reform child protection laws and ensure that kids like T are better protected in future.
Thank you for your support!
Read more from about this case from our Founder, Michael Brosowski:
The sex trafficking and sexual assault of boys in Vietnam are issues that have been snowballing over the past 2 years. Blue Dragon has been coming across new cases every week; some weeks, we meet 3 or 4 boys who have been abused. Their stories are painful and heartbreaking, without exception.
This week, a story in the local media has garnered significant attention: a 14 year old deaf and intellectually impaired boy in Nghe An province (north-central Vietnam) was tortured and brutally raped by a neighbour. Identified only as T, the boy is in a state of shock and pain; doctors and police alike have been unable to understand what has happened and their own limited experience of such cases means they don’t know where to start.
The accused rapist is on the run, and T is in hospital being treated. His parents are desperately poor and aren’t even sure how they will pay the hospital bill. The Vietnamese media, not being very sensitive to privacy concerns, have published multiple stories featuring photos of the boy and his bloody injuries. (In case you want to know more about the story, the article with the least-intrusive image is here).
In short: T is in a desperate situation and his family is deeply distraught. Their world has come crashing down around them.
Seeing how difficult this case is, and having experience of working with abused boys, Blue Dragon’s Chief Lawyer, Mr Van, has today traveled to Nghe An to meet the family and talk with the police and doctors about the case. This afternoon, we have agreed to represent T in court, once the rapist is caught, and we are working with the police to lay a charge of sexual assault, even though the law is unclear on this point. (Vietnamese law doesn’t clearly recognise that males can be the victims of sexual assault; so in this case the offender can be charged with assault, but not rape).
While our hope is to have the rapist charged as such – and not only for the violent physical assault he committed – we also need to get this family some material support. Their situation is dire.
By getting involved like this, we’re taking a step into the unknown. We can’t even be sure the accused offender will be caught, but we have to give it our best. T and his family need, and deserve, a helping hand.
It’s equally important that the police in this case can see the bigger picture here: any person who rapes a child cannot be allowed to get away with it, whether the victim is a boy or a girl.
In some ways, this is a test case to make sure an abused boy can be afforded full legal protection. But it’s also a real case about a kid who has had his life messed up and is in desperate need.
I’ll post updates in coming days and weeks about how T is faring, and how the legal case progresses. There are just too many injustices in our world. This is one that I hope we can do something about.
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