Breaking Free

When Women Empowering Defence (WED) publicised the Wiltshire Police VAWG conference in their Newsletter in November, we were contacted by Dr (Lt Col) Thao Nguyen of the British Army. Dr Nguyen shared her own personal story with us as she wanted to support women who are experiencing or have experienced domestic abuse. Dr Nguyen said, ‘It is a difficult subject to talk about and share so I wrote a song in hope that it will help others through a challenging time and to know you are not alone’. 

BREAKING FREE – By Dr (Lt Col) Thao Nguyen 

Sharing our experiences of domestic abuse is difficult at the best of times. Where do we start? What do we say? Will people judge us? What does this say about me? Can I live through it again in words? One in 4 women will experience some form of domestic abuse regardless of status, rank, and upbringing. Why am I sharing this with you? As a doctor and senior officer, you may see a confident, happy, and outgoing professional but what you don’t see is the life experience that can make or break a person. A life experience that is shared by many but only a few speak up. 

So here I am, speaking up through song, the only way I can without breaking down because it still lives inside you however many years may have passed. Breaking Free is a song I wrote, and perform, about my experience with domestic abuse, to let you know that you are not alone, and you can also break free from abuse. Some people may experience physical abuse, “up against a wall…choke me…make me fall” and others emotional abuse “I’ve been blamed, felt so ashamed…control me…”

I was lucky that circumstances enabled me to walk away: “I’m walking out that door”. Would I have been strong enough to leave any other way? I need to believe I could: “I gotta believe that I am stronger. This isn’t me, no not, no longer”. Looking back, I reflect on why and how I found myself in such a vulnerable position. Maybe because I had hoped that things would improve “always hoping you’ll change,” or maybe because I lacked the confidence to believe in my own worth or believed it was my fault “I’m not the one to blame…and you’re wrong”. 

But what my experience tells me is that I am stronger than I believe and that we are not alone. I hope this song helps others and gives them courage to stand tall and break free from domestic abuse because this is NOT YOU, it’s about them. 

You can listen to Dr Nguyen’s song Breaking Free here:

For Help and support:

Women can call The Freephone National Domestic Abuse Helpline, on 0808 2000 247 for free at any time, day, or night.


LinkedIn Profile: Dr Thao Nguyen

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