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Haiti

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Christina Becerra

on 23 February 2015

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Transcript of Haiti

According to the United Nations (UN), there are "near daily" incidents of domestic rape and violence in Haiti (US Department of State, 2013)
Responses to IPV Issues
Challenges Intervening
According to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, "the Haitian people suffer from the worst living standards in the Hemisphere and are systematically deprived of basic needs in the spheres of nutrition, medical care, shelter, employment and education" (IACHR, 2009)
Recommended Strategies to IPV
Policies on IPV
Haiti
University of Texas at Arlington
Intimate Partner Violence
Professor Marta A. Mercado-Sierra
Spring 2015

Presentation By: Christina Becerra
Statistics on Gender Violence
Land Mass:
10,714 sq. mi.
Population:
10.32 million
GDP (current US$):
8.459 billion
Gross National Income per
capita (US$):
760
Native Language:
Creole

(Unicef, 2013)
(World Bank, 2015)
(Central Intelligence
Agency, 2015)
Country Situation
on Intimate Partner Violence (IPV)
Gender Inequalities and Discrimination
Discrimination and Violence
Effectiveness of Policies
Effectiveness of Responses
What can we learn from Haiti?
References
Prior to the earthquake that hit Haiti, violence against women was already a prevalent issue.
- However, According to Human Rights Watch, "the disaster has exacerbated the vulnerabilities of women and girls in Haiti (Human Rights Watch, 2011).
Haiti's history of deep-rooted poverty, political instability and violence has all contributed to the country's devastating effects its social, political and economic development.
The lack of development on the country's government contributes to weak laws and protective policies against violence.
The prevalence of violence against women has increased immensely as the rise of poverty has spread across the country.
According to Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (2009), the nature of the violations has grown progressively more brutal, resulting in women being subjected to multiple forms of violence at once, including acts of rape, cruel treatment, and psychological and physical torture.
According to the UN Refugee Agency (2013), 70 percent of Haitian women have been affected by gender-based violence. Majority of these cases are reported to be domestic.
Ministry of Health in Haiti conducted a survey and found that "out of the 10,757 women surveyed between the ages of 15 and 49, 10.8 percent reported having experienced sexual violence from an intimate partner" (IRB, 2013).
According to The United Nations Independent Expert for Haiti, reports found in 2006 that "in 85% of the cases of interpersonal violence, women were the victims, while 88% of the aggressors were men" (IACHR, 2009).
Based on The U.S. Department of State’s 2012 Country Report on Human Rights Practices, 66% of rape allegations came from female minors.
In a 2007 study conducted by United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF), results showed that "about a third of women believe that a man has the right to beat his spouse or partner" (Doherty, 2013).
In a 2007 study conducted by United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF), results showed that "about a third of women believe that a man has the right to beat his spouse or partner" (Doherty, 2013).
The Solidarite Fanm Ayisyen (2011) found that "86 percent of women victims of violence were victims of domestic violence" (IRB, 2013)
Overall, violent acts against women in Haiti are under-reported due to many social, economic, and political barriers.
According to Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, "women in Haiti continue to enjoy a disadvantaged and unequal position, as compared to their male counterparts, in the economic, education, health, justice, labor and decision-making sectors" (IACHR, 2009).
However, gender inequalities and discrimination has a significant influence on the prevalence of violence against women in Haiti. Ways in which women experience gender inequalities and discrimination are:
- Stereotypes that women are inferior to men and are only fit to perform certain social roles- these roles which are undervalued in society.
- Socially constructed roles that Haitian culture ingrains in women in order to promote their social inferior treatment.
- In regards to political involvement, women are underrepresented in decision-making in comparison to male counterparts.
- Women are notably underpaid and undervalued compared to their male counterparts, and therefore experience unequal access to financial resources.
- Women experience unequal access to educational opportunities, health services and justice services.
- Women have limited access to economic advantages as there is a scarce pool of professional opportunities.
- Survivors of violence, particularly women, face obstacles in receiving protective services and legal justice. The Haitian culture maintains a discriminatory attitude towards these victims.
- Parents who live on limited means will invest in the education of their male children rather than their female children. This is because they expect that their female children will one day be financially dependent on a man. Even if a female is given access to an education, they are likely to drop-out due to teenage pregnancies or domestic responsibilities.
Links can be drawn to discrimination and violence against women in that:
- The Haitian "laws, institutions, structures, and the mentalities resulting from such regime violate the fundamental liberties and rights of women and girls because they are not recognized as full rights holders" (SOFA, 2006)
- The socially constructed roles and customs assigned to women places them in a disadvantaged position- which then makes them vulnerable to violence.
- Women feel discriminated against and therefore do not feel safe to report the violence, which then the violence perpetuates in society. Repeated victimization is a result of this.
- Discriminatory beliefs against a women's value places a lesser weight on the seriousness of violent crimes being committed.
According to the Human Rights Report on Haiti (2013), the policy for rape and domestic violence states:

"While the law prohibits rape, it does not recognize spousal rape as a crime. The penalty for rape is a minimum of 10 years of forced labor, increasing to mandatory 15 years if the survivor was less than 16 years old or if the rapist was a person of authority. In the case of gang rape, the maximum penalty is lifelong forced labor. Actual sentences were often less rigorous, and prosecution frequently was not pursued due to lack of reporting and follow-up on survivors' claims. The criminal code excuses a husband who kills his wife or her partner found engaging in an act of adultery in his home, but a wife who kills her husband under similar circumstances is subject to prosecution" (U.S. Department of State, 2013, p. 31).
Since the January 2010 earthquake, documented rape cases have far exceeded in number than what is actually reported. Approximately 600 cases were reported to the HNP, however only 5 resulted in a conviction of the perpetrator (U.S. Department of State, 2013, p.31).
Haitian law does not call violence against adults a crime, rather, after domestic violence incidents, which are commonplace and under-reported, survivors often suffered further harassment from perpetrators.
(U.S. Department of State, 2013, p. 31)
Feelings of stigmatization, fear, and distrust become barriers to reporting rape and domestic violence. There are wide disparities in access to treatment for survivors of such crimes. Authorities often ask survivors pointed questions of blame, such as what they did to encourage the violence or if they were a virgin before the alleged rape. Survivors are often encouraged not to press charges so as to avoid humiliation. These, and more, become obstacles in seeking legal justice.
(U.S. Department of State, 2013, p. 32)
Effectiveness cont.
According to Human Rights Report on Haiti, "MINUSTAH’s August report on the police and judicial response to rape cases gathered and analyzed data from seven of the country’s 10 departments between January 2012 and March 2013. The data showed that various actors in the criminal justice system inadequately handled the vast majority of rape cases. The report concluded that the state failed in its obligation to conduct investigations and to ensure that rape victims had sufficient access to victims’ services or the judicial system. The barriers to justice for rape survivors included the requirement that women obtain a medical certificate verifying the rape. Justices of the Peace, who statutorily had no jurisdiction to handle this type of crime, also at times attempted to “amicably resolve” rape complaints by negotiating a financial settlement for the victim in exchange for dropping the complaint. The lack of clerical rigor in
properly registering rape complaints also contributed to systemic underreporting"
(U.S. Department of State, 2013, p.32).
"The vast majority of rape survivors never filed a complaint. Those who did choose
to file a complaint could do so with the police, the prosecutor’s office, or with a
justice of the peace. Survivors could also request the doctor at the medical center
call the HNP on their behalf. While the UN report found that 81 percent of women
who chose to file a rape complaint did so with the police, very few of those cases
that formally entered the judicial system via the police, prosecutor’s office, or the
justices of the peace were ever resolved. According to the report: (1) police
handled only 47 percent of the cases reported to them; (2) the justices of the peace
forwarded to the proper judicial authorities 61percent of the cases they received
from either the police or victims; (3) prosecutors pursued 64 percent of all rape cases they received; (4) investigating magistrates’ chambers only pursued 10
percent of the cases received from victims or prosecutors; and (5) first instance
courts only handled 34 percent of the cases they received from the investigating
magistrates’ chambers. Overall, only a small percentage of complaints filed went
to trial. The data suggested that, in practice, fewer than 2 percent of rape
complaints made it to the trial phase, and an even smaller percentage resulted in a
conviction" (U.S. Department of State, 2013, p.32).
According to the Human Rights Report on Haiti (2013), the policy for sexual harassment states:

"The law does not specifically prohibit sexual harassment, although the labor code states that men and women have the same rights and
obligations. Data concerning sexual harassment in the workplace were not available, although observers suggested that sexual harassment was common, particularly in factories. Such incidents were unreported because of high unemployment and because survivors had little confidence in the ability of the judicial system to provide protection" (U.S. Department of State, 2013, p. 34).
"The law prohibits domestic violence against minors. The government continued to lack sufficient resources and an adequate legal framework to fully support or enforce existing mechanisms to promote children’s rights and welfare but made some progress in institutionalizing protections for children" (U.S. Department of State, 2013, p. 37)
According to the Human Rights Report on Haiti (2013), the policy for child abuse states:

and
United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF)
- As mentioned, has provided emergency care for children and women who are victims, as well as collected data for these surveys.
United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH)
- Restores a secure and stable environment, promotes the political process, strengthens Haiti's government institutions and rule-of-law structures, as well as promotion and protection of human rights.
International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) Victims of Violence Project
- Promote entities and civil society to remove barriers and promote equal access.
International Crisis Group
- carries out field research on violent conflict and promotes advancement of policies.
Plan International Haiti
- Helps children and communities through development programs, child protection initiatives, projects to end poverty and lack of education.
International Service Volunteers Association (AVSI-Italy)
- Supports human development in developing countries with special attention to education and the promotion of the dignity of every human person.
Due to the widespread cases of domestic violence crimes being under-reported, it is difficult to measure the success of efforts, especially with despairing number after the 2010 earthquake. The lack of implementation of policy and conviction gives very little numerical evidence that great success has been achieved through relief organizations. Yet, there are a large number of organizations advocating for the rights of these victims and their reports appear to be helpful about present and future outcomes.
"To adopt an integral state policy to address the specific needs of women and the problems of discrimination and violence, supported by sufficient human and financial resources, and implemented by all key sectors and Ministries" (IACHR, 2009).
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (2009) recommended the following strategies in combating the issue of IPV in Haiti:
"To adopt public policies and programs intended to challenge and change the negative stereotypes about the role of women in society and to promote the eradication of discriminatory social patterns that obstruct their full access to justice; these public policies should feature training programs and comprehensive prevention initiatives" (IACHR, 2009).
"To adopt legislation, public policies and programs to effectively address inequalities between men and women in the Haitian society, especially in the labor, education, health, political participation and family spheres." (IACHR, 2009).
"To adopt legislation that adequately protects women and girls from acts of gender-based violence –physical, sexual and psychological– in the private and public spheres. To earmark sufficient resources, and to enact the necessary regulations to ensure their effective implementation nationwide" (IACHR, 2009).
"To develop educational programs for the public, from a formative and early age, in order to cultivate respect for women as equals, the recognition of their particular needs, and their right to live free from violence and discrimination" (IACHR, 2009).
Personal
Recommendations
I feel that a more harsh punishment against violent crimes against women, domestic or not, needs to be enforced.
I also feel that institutions need to strengthen effective criminal investigations in cases that involve violence against women, and that crimes should receive the punishment that the law has given it.
Also, more services should be accessible to women who have experienced violence from a spouse or stranger, and that these services should provide medical, legal and psychological services.
- living in these harsh conditions makes addressing the issue of intimate partner violence less on the priority list in comparison to basic survival needs.
- The fact that Haiti enforces policies against rape and domestic violence, their lack of carrying out punishments or criminal investigations weakens the policy in itself. If government does not abide in their own policy, how will the people of the country?
A primary challenge in intervening IPV is that the violence itself is under-reported- mostly because of discrimination, dependence woman have on their partner, and the fear that they will ruin their reputation.
That enforcing policies at a state and federal level is the macro intervention needed to promote change.
Social awareness and unification on what is acceptable behavior allows safety for marginalized victims.
Allowing discrimination to become a societal norm allows justification of inhumane treatment to the disenfranchised, as well as a biased judicial system- all the way from patrolling law enforcement to government courts.
In socioeconomic terms, discrimination and violence against women creates a deficit in opportunity costs, the workforce, sustain systems of education (many schools have shut down, due to lack of attendance, out of fear of violent crimes committed against women and children), and an instability in domestic relationships in terms of provision, protection and roles.
(Operation World, 2015)
(Ezilon Maps, 2015)
(Villedrouin, 2013)
(Jeffrey, 2013)

Doherty, J. (2013).
Domestic and Sexual Violence in Haiti: Insufficient Remedies,
Inadequate Response
. Retrieved from http://focusonhaiti.org/2013/08/12/domestic-and-sexual-violence-in-haiti-insufficient-remedies-inadequate-response-2/

Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (2013).
Haiti: Domestic violence, especially
in rural areas; protections and services available for victims
. Retrieved from http://www.refworld.org/docid/51dd24534.html

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (2005).
Haiti: Failed justice or the rule of
law? Challenges ahead for Haiti and the international community
. Retrieved from http://cidh.org/countryrep/HAITI%20ENGLISH7X10%20FINAL.pdf

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (2009)
. The right of women in haiti to be
free from violence and discrimination executive summary and introduction
. Retrieved from http://www.cidh.oas.org/countryrep/Haitimujer2009eng/HaitiWomen09.Intro.Chap.IandII.htm#_ftnref51

The World Bank, World Development Indicators (2015).
Data: Haiti
. Retrieved from
http://data.worldbank.org/country/haiti#cp_fin

United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (2013).
At a glace: Haiti
.
Retrieved from http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/haiti_statistics.html#118

United States Department of State (2013). Haiti 2013 human rights report.
Country
Reports of Human Rights Practices for 2013
. Retrieved from http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/220661.pdf

(Hargrove, 2010)
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