I wince as this mother of 11 points to the places on her neck, head and arms where she was beaten. As she recalls each vicious blow, Chu remembers how she screamed in pain.
But for this secret believer from the northern tip of Vietnam (near the Chinese border), the beating wasn’t atypical or even a surprise. Married at only age 15, she tells me she endured years of domestic abuse.
“My whole life I was beaten up by my husband many times,” Chu says, looking down at the tile floor as she talks.
This time was different, though. This time after being beaten for her faith in Christ, Chu left, with only the clothes on her back.
Each day we’re together, she is dressed the same: in a vibrant purple-and-white, polka-dotted blouse held together by a row of silver safety pins, covered by a darker purple, soft, velvet jacket and plain black pants. She likes bright colors, she says. The earrings she wears each day look like tribal artifacts passed down through the generations. Instead, they are her favorites, she tells me, because she bought them for herself.
Chu freely shares many details about her life, but most heartbreaking is what has happened in the last week. Only days before she got on a bus to travel 14 hours south to talk to us, she learned that her youngest children will remain in her husband’s custody; she would not be allowed to see them. She has three sons and five daughters. Chu has already buried three children. Continue story at Opendoor.