After escaping an abusive relationship that led to her incarceration for 16 years, Ny is now a powerful voice for other domestic violence survivors who face incarceration and deportation.
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Ny was born in a Thai refugee camp after her mother fled Khmer Rouge’s genocidal regime in Cambodia.
When she was five, Ny and her mother resettled in San Diego, CA. Like many other refugees, they found it hard to assimilate in a society that didn’t welcome refugees.
Growing up, Ny witnessed persistent abuse in her parent’s relationship.
In turn, she remembers that her mother was verbally and physically abusive towards her, saying “I wish you’d never been born” or “I wish I had left you [in Thailand].”
As a young teenager, Ny didn’t know what healthy relationships were. As she discovered the world of internet dating, which became her escape from the violence at home, she looked for love and validation.
Through internet dating, Ny met her then-boyfriend.
Soon, she became trapped in an increasingly abusive relationship with no way out.
Then one night, her boyfriend learned that she had a brief relationship with her boss.
He became enraged, fatally shooting Ny’s boss while threatening to kill Ny and her family if she didn’t go along with what he said that night.
Three years later, Ny went to the police with the help of coworkers.
But instead of protecting her, they charged her and her boyfriend with murder.
The court failed to take into account the abuse Ny faced and she was sentenced to 35 years to life.
However, after five years, the court retried Ny’s case on the grounds of “battered woman syndrome” and her sentence was reduced to 15 years.
But on the day of Ny’s release she was transferred to ICE to await deportation.
Because she was a permanent resident, her conviction made her deportable.
After applying for a hearing, Ny was offered bail by an immigration judge and was finally released from custody in November 2017.
In June 2020, she was officially pardoned by California Governor Gavin Newsom.
Ny is now the Co-Director of the Asian Prisoner Support Committee and continues to organize with Survived and Punished, a volunteer-based organization to end criminalization of domestic and sexual violence survivors.
She continues to be a powerful advocate for those who’ve also faced criminalization and the threat of deportation.