She Was Born a Woman

*Note: This is not my story, this is a story from a friend. All names have been altered for privacy purposes. Also, for anyone who gets offended by this story, please just move along with your life and don’t bother wasting the seconds of your life ticking away by leaving any hate comments.

It irks me that even though I along with many Hmong youths are born in the United States, our culture still has not change much at all. We live in the present, going to the future, but many of the older generations still keep to the old traditional ways. Practices that sometimes can be hurtful. Today, I share a story of a close friend that took her life years ago.

Pa was a bright young girl and who had her whole future plan ahead of her. We knew each other since we were young, then her family moved. Every other summer her family would come back down and visit, so we remain our close friendship. We spent days chatting on Facebook talking about our future. Then we graduated high school and went to college. We were plenty of states apart, but still we kept talking and inform each other about our classes. Complaining to one another about how challenging anatomy and organic chemistry was, yet at the same time learning from each other. A year went by and we survived freshmen year, then another year went by and we made it through our second year. Two more years left until we graduate! At least one of us made it through all four years.

The summer before we started our third year, Pa decided to hang out with some of her close friends. It was just three weeks away before move in day. She never made it back home. Instead, her parents got news that her friend, Tou, had took her to his home against her will. All elders on both side said that nothing can be fixed because his family has already welcomed her and she was part of their family. So, the wedding was schedule. Before her wedding date we talked on the phone and she was crying. She cried to me saying it wasn’t fair, he was to picked her up first then picked up the rest of their friends. However, he claimed he forgot his wallet so they went to his house. It was then when they both stood in front of his door, when his family opened it standing at with all the preparations.

She told me of how she resisted, but at the end he won because he was more physically powerful. She cried and cried as I listen to her story, then we both went to bed. The wedding went on and she got married. Then she got pregnant against her will and he made her quit school. A year later she got pregnant by force again, at this time I graduated and she called me congratulating me in tears. I asked her if she was happy, she said no and that her Tou was cheating on her. I comfort her to the best of my ability, but I know nothing could heal her wounds. A year later, she took her life after Tou beat her up so badly because she would not let him go out drinking with his friends. Her in-laws fail to protect her like they promised her parents and Tou fail to love and protect her like how he promised her family.

Two weeks ago, I ran into her little brother, he had moved back down with his older brother, and is currently attending university studying Women’s Gender and Political Science. I didn’t recognize him because he had grown into a nice and handsome young man, but he approached me while I was shopping at Walmart. We gave each other a hug and then I treated him to dinner. It was then that he told me, he decided to study Women’s Gender and Political Science because part of Pa’s last words to him was “my only mistake was that I was born a woman.”


3 responses to “She Was Born a Woman”

  1. Her last words struck me like a knife. Those were my words as a child. I swore I would be born a male in my next life, but I am fortunate to have lived my life this far. Being born a woman is no longer a mistake, my parents and cultural perspective of a women’s worth is a mistake. Thank you for sharing your friends story. Too many Hmong women can relate to her pain.

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