A Story of a Survivor

Consoling Through Counseling provides trauma therapy, social assistance, and small business grants to survivors of human trafficking, sexual abuse and domestic violence residing in a women’s shelter in rural Cambodia.

Nine year old Srey Touch is one of these survivors. From the rural town of Krong Serei Sophorn, Banteay Meanchey province, Cambodia. She has two siblings and is in the second grade.

Her story is a very difficult one. It’s a hopeful one, too.

When she was young, her mother divorced her father and then remarried, leaving Srey Touch to live with an old grandmother. Sadly, her grandmother passed away so Srey Touch moved in with her Uncle who was then married with three children. However, in 2019, her uncle left his wife, leaving Srey Touch and her uncle alone at home.

At first, her uncle took care of her as his daughter, providing advice and encouraging her in her studies at school. But his behavior changed. More than once he attempted to rape her, threatening her not to tell anyone.

One day at school, Srey Touch couldn’t hold it in any longer and she told her friends what had been happening at home. This resulted in the police being brought in and her Uncle arrested and sent to court.

This is how Srey Touch came to use. She was referred by the authorities to stay in our safe shelter and it is here with us that she awaits her Uncle’s trial.

Srey Touch had difficult adjusting to life at the shelter. At first she felt fearful of a new place and had trouble getting along with others. Our counselors stepped in. They began to build a relationship with her, building her trust and confidence. They helped Srey Touch to do self-reflection and interceded on her behalf to help her make connections with others in the shelter.

Srey Touch began to soften. As her comfort grew, she began making connections with others through group counseling and participation in activities designed to relieve trauma and create connection.

Currently, she lives in the shelter and both her physical and emotional health have vastly improved. She is attending second grade at the public school nearest the shelter and our counselors will continue to assist and help Srey Touch to take back her life.

For a girl like Srey Touch, help like this means a chance to heal and grow into a better future—a future where she is empowered and can shed her sense of shame, seeing herself as a survivor, not victim.