Photo credit: Garry Pierre-Pierre

Author’s note: For this year’s Women’s History Month, celebrated during the month of March, and International Women’s Day, which was March 8th, UN-Women championed the cause of gender parity under the banner, “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality.”

Keeping in line with these themes and aspirations, The Haitian Times looks to explore some of the critical issues that affect Haitian women and those in the diaspora; beginning with gender-based violence.

By Natalie C. Holly and Soraya E. Denis

Melissa Bernier never imagined that she would be a victim of domestic violence, until she found herself in an abusive relationship. As is the case for many victims, her abuse began verbally and gradually escalated to physical assaults.

“I was in denial,” Bernier, who is a staff writer and contributor for Haitian Times, said. “From the outside looking in, my situation was a textbook domestic violence relationship, but from the inside looking out, I didn’t know what domestic violence looked like.

“I didn’t know if it was just me, if what I was going through were real issues, or if they were a lot bigger than what I thought they were.”