Tran Thi Ngai was born in Dong Hoa, Phu Yen, Vietnam in 1941 into a wealthy and educated family. She was a nursing student when the South Korean military arrived in Vietnam. One day, Ngai met a South Korean soldier when she walking with a friend to have breakfast. The soldier started following her everywhere: to the hospital where she worked, to her mother’s house, and around town. Ngai was concerned for her own personal safety if she would say no to this soldier. He raped her many times. She had two children by this man.
In the aftermath of the assault, Ngai lost everything because her neighbors perceived that she was a collaborator. Her mother was thrown in jail and her father was beaten to death. Although life was very difficult for her, she persevered and raised all three of her children to adulthood.