My Mother's Short Story: Child Abuse

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My mom is tough and bold, but she isn’t Wonder Woman. She is smart, but she claims to be only street-wise. Vietnam’s society is, without a doubt, extremely warped. Most of the police force is corrupted and child abuse is alarmingly prominent. Unfortunately, it was reported that 4.3 million children in Vietnam were living under “special” circumstances. This number is about 18% of all Vietnamese children. The most shocking part about this report is that it was recorded in 2010, meaning that the number was once much more significant back when my mother was a child in the 1970s and 80s. As for corruption in the police force, it is recorded that 30% of the people who took the Transparency International Survey had (at least once) bribed one or more…show more content…
It was entertainment for them. They wanted to see a brawl. They said it was a way for us to practice and hone our skills. We were like animals to them.
“Some days ended with bruises, while others ended in a swollen jaw or a bloody nose. I remember one time my friend hit me so hard, I was bleeding out of my nose and my mouth,” my mom chuckled. “Oh, and that didn’t mean I was always a loser though. I usually won,” she smiled, triumphantly.
“And you’re proud…?” I stared at her, astonished. She laughed.
“Well, who wouldn’t be? Wouldn’t you feel happy about beating your friends and becoming number one?” my mom smirked, obviously sarcastic. I shuddered at the thought of beating someone up until they were covered in their own blood.
“No, not like that,” I answered, firmly.
“You Americans are so soft,” she sighed, joking. “Anyway, there was this one time, where one of our fights got out of hand. We were more tired than usual after class. During this fight, I remember landing a kick right in her gut. She fell on her knees, doubling over in pain, wheezing. I felt so bad. That feeling was almost
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Why was I complying to people’s wishes? Why was I hurting someone I didn’t want to hurt? Why was I taking karate to get revenge? I would only be lowering myself to level of the kids at my school.
“That was when I refused to fight anymore. I turned around, despite the roaring crowd, picked up my backpack, and went home. Your aunt and uncles were yelling at me to get back and finish her until she gave in, but I refused to. She was a good person. Usually, after the fights, we would continue to act like nothing ever happened at all. In that moment, I felt like if I came back to finish the fight, our friendship would never be the same.
“After that day, I decided to quit karate for good. I knew a good amount of techniques. I decided it was enough to protect myself, so I quit. I didn’t need it. If I kept going, I would’ve just been pushed into the fights again anyway,” she finished, leaning back into the couch. “Christine, the lesson here is to not succumb to peer pressure. In Vietnam, the elders are always right and the kids must listen, but if you feel like something isn’t right, don’t do it. Do what you think is right. Do things that will benefit you and the people around
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