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Gender and Violence in Haiti

Gender and Violence in Haiti: Women's Path from Victims to Agents

Copyright Date: 2014
Published by: Rutgers University Press
Pages: 188
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  • Book Info
    Gender and Violence in Haiti
    Book Description:

    Women in Haiti are frequent victims of sexual violence and armed assault. Yet an astonishing proportion of these victims also act as perpetrators of violent crime, often as part of armed groups. Award-winning legal scholar Benedetta Faedi Duramy visited Haiti to discover what causes these women to act in such destructive ways and what might be done to stop this tragic cycle of violence.Gender and Violence in Haitiis the product of more than a year of extensive firsthand observations and interviews with the women who have been caught up in the widespread violence plaguing Haiti. Drawing from the experiences of a diverse group of Haitian women, Faedi Duramy finds that both the victims and perpetrators of violence share a common sense of anger and desperation. Untangling the many factors that cause these women to commit violence, from self-defense to revenge, she identifies concrete measures that can lead them to feel vindicated and protected by their communities.Faedi Duramy vividly conveys the horrifying conditions pervading Haiti, even before the 2010 earthquake. ButGender and Violence in Haitialso carries a message of hope-and shows what local authorities and international relief agencies can do to help the women of Haiti.

    eISBN: 978-0-8135-6316-9
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. List of Acronyms and Organizations
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-17)

    Current scholarship as well as international policy studies focusing on civil conflicts and armed violence have construed women as victims and men as perpetrators of violence. This prevalent interpretation tells part of the story, but it leaves out an equally important dimension: women as participants in violence and men occasionally as victims. This book joins the emerging effort to highlight limitations in the conventional wisdom and to enlarge understandings of why women engage in violence. To that end, this study focuses in particular on women and girls in the slum communities of Haiti. It explores the nexus between their prior...

  6. 1 Gender-Based Violence and Women’s Violence in Context
    (pp. 18-33)

    The Republic of Haiti is located in the Caribbean between Cuba and Puerto Rico and shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic. Separated from the Florida coast of the United States by only one hour by air, Haiti has a unique historical heritage. No proper analysis of gender-based violence and women’s violence in the country is possible without an understanding of its traumatic history. Slavery, a warlike past, and poverty are important lenses through which to appreciate the root cultural causes of the current practices of violence, which taint the power balance between men and women and impair...

  7. 2 Gender-Based Violence in Haiti
    (pp. 34-57)

    Many studies have thoroughly documented the prevalence of violence against women in both industrialized and less-developed societies. A population-based survey conducted in ten countries, including data from over twenty-four thousand informants around the world, revealed that the lifetime chance of physical violence affecting a woman over the age of fifteen ranged from less than 10 percent in Ethiopia, Japan, Serbia, and Montenegro to 62 percent in Samoa (World Health Organization 2005, 43). The chance of sexual violence being perpetrated against a woman over fifteen years of age varied from less than 1 percent in Ethiopia and Bangladesh to between 10...

  8. 3 Understanding Women’s Violence in Haiti
    (pp. 58-77)

    It is conventional wisdom that women are less violent than men in conflict settings. This view draws on biological evidence and on the way in which women are socialized beginning at an early age. Various scholars have, therefore, explained women’s aversion to violence by emphasizing either their social role or their childhood socialization.¹ Consequently, when girls and women engage in violence, their antagonist behavior has usually been compared to that of their male peers, and it is often minimized by such a comparison or at least put into perspective by reason of the specific social, cultural, and economic circumstances associated...

  9. 4 Legal Frameworks
    (pp. 78-98)

    This chapter examines the international legal norms addressing practices of discrimination and sexual violence against women under international human rights and humanitarian law. It discusses the shortcomings of these laws in responding to such violations and effectively protecting women and girls. The chapter also examines UN resolutions on women, peace, and security that develop, at a programmatic level, women’s participation in postconflict processes and reconciliation. Finally, the Haitian legal framework on gender-based violence and women’s involvment in armed violence is analyzed in its progression from the original Haitian penal code to the current laws in compliance with international benchmarks.


  10. 5 Victims’ Help-Seeking and the Criminal-Justice Response
    (pp. 99-115)

    In spite of the commitments to the international community by the Haitian government and the efforts undertaken by the national legislature, sexual abuse and rape are still widely and systematically perpetrated throughout the country across social and economic lines. The underreporting of women’ rights violations, the loss of rape cases at various stages of the criminal-justice process, and, ultimately, the widespread impunity with which males perpetuate sexual violence against women derive from the inequalities in the formal legal system, the victims’ internalization of gender stereotypes and hierarchy, their fear of social stigmatization and reprisal, and the high levels of corruption...

  11. 6 Strategies for Action
    (pp. 116-136)

    Despite the pervasive structures of gender inequality in Haitian society, some women actively resist subordination and violence. By presenting an account of their efforts to counter gender-based violations and to reclaim equality and protection for their daughters and themselves, the following analysis identifies promising approaches and programs employed by the nonprofit organizations and civil society associations devoted to advancing human rights for women in the country. This chapter suggests that only by implementing long-term, cooperative, and multilateral approaches with local resources and decision making can international organizations operating in the country successfully convey human-rights principles in a practical context and,...

  12. 7 Women in the Aftermath of the Earthquake
    (pp. 137-152)

    On January 12 , 2010 , a 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck Haiti, devastating the capital of the country, Port-au Prince, and several other cities. Hundreds of thousands of Haitians died, approximately the same number were injured, and more than a million lost their homes and have been living in the 1,300 displacement camps around the country ever since. Extreme poverty and desperation were coupled with sexual violence affecting the women and girls who survived the natural disaster. The earthquake and its dramatic consequences exacerbated the already arduous conditions for Haitian women and girls as well as violently undermining the precarious capacity...

  13. NOTES
    (pp. 153-156)
    (pp. 157-166)
  15. INDEX
    (pp. 167-172)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 173-174)