Monday, June 28, 2010

men in haiti

Haiti has long been a place of unspeakable sadness and despair and the earthquake at the beginning of this year was like pouring gasoline onto a bonfire.

This article in the NY Times about a 22 year old woman who was kidnapped and raped was pretty horrific. And the worst part is this is not an isolated incident, but a commonplace one, especially after the earthquake. It seems that in these awful situations where people are not just uncertain about their future but clawing for dear life just to stay alive, to find food and a place to sleep, aggression is abundant. Women feel the brunt of the abuse.

Men are left to deal with the feeling and weight of hopelessness and with no power or patience to find a way out of the rubble. They are desperate, depressed and angry. They are not supposed to cry or feel in need of help. They are supposed to take care of their family and themselves. And that desperation is what leads them to the torture and abuse of women, to take out all the anger the world has thrust against them and redirect it at a less powerful group.

This is absolutely not right, it's still completely despicable and wrong. Women need help, but I think this shows that men need help, too. I don't want to excuse these men in any way, but I do think this should make us think critically about the expectations we have for men that appropriate this type of behavior. We have to treat the symptoms AND the disease itself, otherwise we'll just keep treating the symptoms over and over and over...

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