The Haiti flag has horizontal bands of blue (top) and red with a white rectangle in the center with the coat of arms. The coat of arms contains a palm tree flanked by flags and two cannons above a scroll with the motto L'UNION FAIT LA FORCE - translated -(Union Makes Strength).
The Republic of Haiti, is the second-oldest republic in the Western Hemisphere - 2nd after the United States. It’s a small country located in the Caribbean between Cuba and the Dominican Republic. Haiti is slightly smaller than the state of Maryland.Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere as 80% of its population lives below poverty level. Most of its people work on family farms.
Haiti has had years of political and economic instability however and it is one of the poorest nations in the world. Since the 1990s, Haiti has undergone political changes and has been unstable both politically and economically. Violence has also erupted in most of the country. After massive flooding a few years ago Haiti had a magnitude 7.0 earthquake strike near Port au Prince on January 12, 2010. The death toll in was in the thousands and the country's infrastructure was damaged. Schools and hospitals collapsed.
Family structure in rural Haiti has changed since the nineteenth century. The term lakou referred not only to the family members, but to the cluster of houses in which they lived. Members of a lakou worked cooperatively, and they provided each other with financial and other kinds of support. Land ownership was not cooperative, however, and successive generations of heirs inherited individual plots. Under the pressure of population growth and the increasing fragmentation of landholdings, the lakou system disintegrated. Haitian peasants still relied on their kin for support, but the extended family sometimes became an arena for land disputes as much as a mechanism for cooperation. Because of the importance of intermarriage, mulatto elite families were often interrelated. Marital relationships have changed somewhat since the mid-twentieth century. Divorcehas become acceptable. Elite wives have entered the labor force in increasing numbers in the 1970s and the 1980s. The legal rights of married women, including rights to property, were expanded through legislation in the 1980s. In addition, the elite had a broader choice of partners as economic change and immigration changed the composition of that group.
It shows how society treats its women.
sexual violence against women in Haiti is another virus that has proved resistant to a cure. it is an indictment of the way the society treats its women.
The Commission is particularly troubled by the fact that female victims of violence are disinclined to turn to the justice system. Victims and their families have no confidence in the ability of the justice system to right the wrongs committed, and are often mistreated when attempting to avail themselves of judicial remedies. This combination of factors leaves the victims with a sense of insecurity, defenselessness and mistrust in the administration of justice.
Since 2007 the judiciary has made renewed efforts to hold criminal trials more frequently in 2007. This has resulted in a number of criminal prosecutions and convictions. However, the number of cases of violence against women tried and convicted remains significantly low, with only a handful of cases successfully prosecuted in 2007.
A national protocol is in place for the treatment of survivors of sexual violence, including specific ways to obtain the contents of a post-rape kit. National protocol says that contraception should be procured in local pharmacies and not in post-rape kits and the medication in the pharmacies is different than in the kits. The reality that women need support immediately and that many pharmacies are no longer standing or don’t have the medications. The current challenge is to respect national protocol while obtaining the best possible care for victims.
Haiti Women, Life, and Reality
Some Facts Population: 9,035,536 (July 2009 estimate) Capital: Port au Prince Area: 10,714 square miles (27,750 sq km) Bordering Country: The Dominican Republic Coastline: 1,100 miles (1,771 km) Highest Point: Chaine de la Selle at 8,792 feet (2,680 m)
A Little Bit of History 40 years of research Women and children still the focus of violence Political wars Natural Disasters Floods Earthquakes
A Little Bit of History Until the early part of the twentieth century, the lakou, an extended family defined along male lines, was the principal family form. By the mid-twentieth century, the nuclear family had become the norm among peasants. The lakou survived as a typical place of residence the cooperative labor and the social security provided by these extended families disappeared. Family life among the traditional elite is extrememlydifferent from that of the lower class Civil and religious marriages were the norm
Haiti Today 2004 - a rebel group of anti-government gangs and demobilized soldiers began to seize towns President Jean-Baptiste Aristide forced into exile Not sure if the rise in cases is due to widespread violence, or asking women to speak out At least 35,000 women were subject to sexual violence around the capital from 2003 to 2005 more than half were younger than 18 years
Haiti Today Before 2004 the Gheskio Centre saw a handful of requests HIV testing due to sexual assaults In 2006 numbers rose to between 40 or 50 cases a month many of them gang rapes In the beginning the victims didn’t know their attackers Now many of the victims know their attackers
Haiti Today In 2005 rape was reclassified as a stand-alone crime carrying a maximum sentence of life imprisonment previously it was categorized as part of the wider crime of sexual molestation Adultery had gender double standards For a man it was only recognized if it was actually committed in the marital bed For a woman the location did not matter This distinction has now been done away with.
Haiti Today Most cases of violence against women are never formally investigated, prosecuted and punished by the justice system This sends the message violence and discrimination against women will be tolerated The prevalence of discrimination against women is an additional barrier for women victims of violence to access justice
Haiti Today Sexual violence perpetrators enjoy impunity women are often too ashamed to testify against their attacker when the assailant is a man in uniform, too scared. 14%of sexual assault were attributed to the police Police insist they "do not tolerate such acts“ Behavior of the police on the streets has been denounced by human rights organizations and sex workers.
Haiti Today For survivors of sexual violence, certain free services, including free medications, need to be in place. Women first need access to medical care, and then to the police, should they elect to report the crime They also need to be directed to other necessary services such as counseling and psychosocial support. The ingredients for these treatments exist in very few clinics obtaining PEP and emergency contraception–the key contents of the United Nations post-rape kit–remains contentious
In Summary With years of struggle, political up rise, and natural disasters – years of battles to come The women of Haiti have just begun their battle Work on prevention, acceptance, independence L'UNION FAIT LA FORCE (Union Makes Strength) is the motto associated with flag
References Inter American Commission on Human Rights. “The Right of Women in Haiti to be Free from Violence and Discrimination.” Executive Summary and Introduction (March 10, 2009): 26. April 2, 2011. http://www.cidh.oas.org/countryrep/Haitimujer2009eng/HaitiWomen09.Intro.Chap.IandII.htm. IRN Global. “HAITI: Treatment centre reports rising sexual violence and HIV .” PlusNewsGlobal Version (2007): 2. April 1, 2011. http://www.plusnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=75091.
References OHCHR.“OHCHR in Haiti (2008-2009) .” OHCHR (2009): Pages. April 1, 2011 http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/LACRegion/Pages/HTSummary0809.aspx OHCHR. “OHCHR in Haiti (2006-2007) .” OHCHR (2007): 1. April 1, 2011 http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/LACRegion/Pages/HTSummary.aspx. United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner. “UN Independent Expert on Haiti: “Impunity must end”.” Display News (2011): 1. April 1, 2011 http://www.ohchr.org/en/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=10764&LangID=E.