Almost a quarter (24%) of women who experienced physical or sexual violence reported seeking help. Women’s organizations and other institutions working on the issue use a standard protocol to assist women in the medical, legal and psychological fields.
In parallel with this care, the social environment and reality cause a high proportion of women to abandon care and support procedures. This environment can be made up people close to survivors, institutions she frequents, or individuals close to or who side with the aggressor. One should keep in mind that the material and daily reality of Haitian Women undermines justice-seeking and perpetuates the cycle of violence. We thus found that it was therefore necessary, apart from standard and institutional support, to find a method that created a closer, more intimate, more secure, more constant connection throughout and until the very end of the process to help women to break free.
This being a means to prevent certain consequences of violence on Haitian women such as psychological distress, suicidal thoughts, physical and mental health problems, isolation, self-blame, loneliness, self-harm and fear. For example, NÈGÈS MAWON has been experimenting with the concept of SISTER SUPPORT for almost two years.
This approach aims to establish a parallel accompaniment to the standard accompaniment of another women’s organizations. The “SISTER SUPPORT” approach is to pair a woman who is a victim of violence with another woman who is a “sister” having survived violence herself. The two women learn to know each other, share their stories, experiences, and help each other in the long process of healing. We test it for the different forms of violence but also with women seeking abortion at all stages (before/during/after). It’s important to note that abortion is illegal in Haiti.
SISTER SUPPORT therefore:
- Fights against violence against women
- Provides enhanced support to women victims of violence
- Creates and allows women victims of violence to better internalize a counter-discourse, allowing them to experience a counter-reality about violence contrasting with what they face every day in their close or distant surroundings
- Continues the process the healing process for a woman who survivor of violence by turning her into an agent in the process of fighting against violence against women
- Creates a link between the common experiences of two women that allow them to strengthen each other, help each other and heal
- Breaks isolation
- Helps women reclaim their experiences and turn them into tools of resistance, struggle and healing
- Flips the script and engages the power of these women in the process of protecting and healing themselves