A woman identified as Trinh, who is pale, thin and disheveled, often takes pains to hide from her husband, who shouts, swears and beats her every time he comes home.
Her husband technically has abandoned her, but he comes back home on a regular basis. He works as a casual laborer and spends all his money drinking. He has set fire to the house and burned his family's clothes and personal papers, forcing them to flee at night.
"My children and I often sleep under the jackfruit tree near the house at night because we cannot stand his terrible deeds," Trinh said.
"One time while I was heavily pregnant, he beat me badly one night, and I managed to run away to the Marian grotto nearby. I gave birth to our fifth daughter there," said the 38-year-old mother.
Trinh has seven children, aged 18 months to 12 years old, and lives in Dong Nai province, southern Vietnam.
She said, because her husband does not support their children, she works hard from dawn until dusk collecting used items from people and selling them to make a living. She earns only 70,000-200,000 dong (U.S. $3-9) a day, and so they live in extreme poverty.
Trinh and other women in her situation find that help from women religious is their only option for surviving domestic violence and its destructive impact.
Join the Conversation
Send your thoughts and reactions to our online Letters to the Editor column. Learn more here