I first met Dao in the middle of the Red Shirts protest in Bangkok. Her neighborhood was literally being bombarded with gunfire and grenades. Electricity had been cut off; people were barricaded into their neighborhood while the violence was escalating daily. Dao’s aunt works at NightLight and she asked if she and her family could find refuge at NightLight. I liked Dao from the moment I met her. Atypical of Thai women on a first time meeting, she gave me a big hug. There was something else though that I couldn’t put my finger on – vulnerability, a longing… I wasn’t sure what it was, but I thought she was very sweet.
After the fires that burned Bangkok had simmered down the family left NightLight’s refuge and moved back home. We learned though, that Dao was still in danger. Dao had only just recently escaped an abusive situation in which she had been kept locked up in a room by a “boyfriend” for many months. He had been sexually abusing her. At one point he had beat her so badly that she was bleeding through her skin. She begged to go to the hospital but the man refused and bought her some over the counter pain medication. Having just escaped, Dao went from the trauma of abuse straight into the trauma of a war zone. The posttraumatic stress wouldn’t show up until later; it was that which was lurking beneath the surface.
After learning her story of being a sex slave, and concerned for her safety we brought her into NightLight’s program. In the intake interview, Pon learned how Dao had been controlled through drugs. Pon asked if she was addicted but Dao said she didn’t think so. Dao was so happy to been the chance of a new life. She had begun to seek Christ during the protests and was eager to know Jesus personally. But, the drugs were not out of her system. She was addicted and she couldn’t kick it on her own. She ran back to the abusive man in desperation.
to be continued…