Unfortunately there’s a new disease plaguing the Haitian community and it can very well destroy many families if the right precautionary measures are not taken. Lately there have been a surmountable number of domestic violence cases in the Haitian community and some of them have even resulted in death. A pastor killed his wife and her lover after finding out she was having an affair. There are multiple cases reported daily in Boston, New York City, Miami and other metropolitan cities with large Haitian communities. The number of reported domestic violence cases in the Haitian community has doubled according to published reports. Haitian women are being victimized and abused and authorities feel that most of the abuse has gone unnoticed primarily because of the immigration status of the victims, language barrier and lack of resources.
The latest trend in the Haitian community is for the men to travel back to their homeland to find a homegrown wife with homegrown values. These women are usually expected to be subservient in values and domesticated once they arrive in the US. Due to the language barrier these women usually have to submit to their husbands and are expected to follow all orders. The prisons are now being filled with Haitian men because of domestic violence and most of the time these men find themselves facing deportation after serving their sentences. This problem has gone unnoticed for too long because Haitian society doesn’t protect the rights of women. The cases are usually reported when neighbors get involved and the police are called.
Another common practice in the Haitian community is that these men would sometimes travel back to Haiti with their wives to physically discipline them because there are no laws in place to prosecute these men for beating their wives. As a kid, it was not unusual to witness many women get beat by their husbands as law enforcement officials in Haiti stood by and did nothing. To add to the burden of the women’s predicament, the abusers sometimes also try to manipulate the women into thinking that their livelihood depends on the fact that the husband has to file the legal papers for them to obtain permanent legal status in this country. These women, most of the time, suffer alone as survival is usually their only option. Not to say that all Haitian men are doing this, but there have been too many cases of domestic abuse reported in the Haitian community.
Since professional counseling is not really part of Haitian culture, this continues to be a burgeoning problem as these men find it hard to adapt socially sometimes in a progressive society. To add to that, the machismo state of mind all too often force these men to go to extreme measures to end the life of their spouse altogether. This problem also involves women abusing men, but only in rare cases.
Many of these women suffer in silence due to their inability to speak English and the lack of knowledge about the resources available to them. It is also a cultural shame for Haitian men to be handcuffed. So these women are overly careful with their actions because they never want to embarrass their husband in an unforgiving way. The Haitian community needs to reach out to these victims and educate them about the laws in the United States that protect them and that domestic abuse is not acceptable in this country. Also, these men need to understand that domestic violence affects the whole family, including the innocent children who sometimes have to endure the same pain and abuse that their mother have to suffer.
The psychological affect on the family sometimes can be so severe that a repeated cycle is created for generations to come. The assimilation process for the Haitian Diaspora seem to pose a threat to what they believe are “traditional Haitian values.” These values are the some of the reasons why the country is in its current state. In order for us to have a better Haiti, the rights of all people have to be protected and women especially need to have a stronger voice for the prosperity of all Haitians.