Essay on Voices of Women in Haiti

Submitted By kohenry
Words: 2193
Pages: 9

Kourtney O’Henry April 7, 2014 The Voice of Women In Haiti
For a long period of time, women struggled to find a voice. History has shown that women had to overcome difficult tasks and obstacles in order to get to where they are today. The problem is that even today, women are still suffering from oppression. Whether they are domesticated, employed, wealthy, or poor, women have always been a few steps behind from men and they are still fighting for equality. In fact, women across the globe are still having trouble finding their own voices. One of the most volatile countries where women were constantly having trouble being heard and still are today is Haiti. Haiti is well known for the most unfortunate consequences such as their lack of healthcare and educational opportunities, corrupt government, and unspeakable tragedies. Apparently, the struggle of Haitian women finding a voice blends into the category of these situations. However, as Americans, women across the country have achieved so much. From beginning the movement in the late 1700’s to passing the amendment of female equality in the early 1900s, women came a long way. Thanks to the historical female figures, women across the American nation currently have the same equal rights as men and that they feel more liberal to use their voices whenever it is necessary. This also proves that all women have a voice. However, there are certain barriers that women have a hard time crossing, because most of the time, men prevent them from doing so. For generations, Haitian women have been suffering in so many unimaginable ways.
One would say that the Haitian women faced the most challenges. Even today, the Haitian women everywhere are having a hard time expressing their individuality. “Women are caught like this, too, by networks of forces and barriers that expose one to penalty, loss or contempt whether one works outside the home or not, is on welfare or not, bears children or not, raises children or not, married or not, stays married or not, is heterosexual, lesbian, both or neither (Shaw 69).” This statement indicates that the women living in today’s most volatile countries are still suffering from pretty much anything imaginable. “Far too many Haitian children and women are engaged in a struggle for their right to basic necessities like adequate nutrition, clean water, education and protection from violence (The Situation).” This statement clearly proves they are missing out on the advantages that other nations have, such as education, healthcare, protection services, and so on. This situation has been going on for generations and unlike other nations, not much has changed in the Haitian community. “Haiti is one of the poorest countries on earth – it ranks 148 out of 179 countries on UNDP’s Human Development Index, is struggling to recover from years of violence, insecurity and instability (The Situation).”
Haitian women also suffer from traditional ad cultural values. Edwidge Danticat wrote a novel called, “Breath, Eyes, Memory.” The novel clearly informs the readers about the strict traditions and suffering of the people in Haiti. One of the harshest customs that Danticat expressed in the novel was the virginity testing. It is hard to believe that they still follow up to these traditions today. Virginity testing is when one sticks their fingers up a woman’s vagina to check if the hymen is still intact. In chapter 11 of the novel, Martine came home from work early one night and caught her 18-year-old daughter Sophie when she came in late. She was frantic and furious, but instead of beating her, she takes her upstairs to get tested. From that point on, she tested Sophie every week. Plus, she has rarely spoken to her since that night. Sophie got to the point where she did not know her mother anymore. “I