Click Here to Read: Haiti: Child Rape, an Analyst’s Interventions, Part 1, by Gil Kliman on this Website.
HAITI PROJECT LOG PART II: January 13, 2013 Gilbert Kliman, M.D.
No, the Prime Minister didn’t meet with us. Hugo Chavez or at least his sash was being inaugurated and Mr. Laurent Salvador Lamothe left us to the good offices of his very effective assistant, Allison Llera. We took photographs and got lots of good advice. Meanwhile, no more child-raping is occurring in the seven camps we serve and UNFPA still will not meet with me.
NO REST FOR THE AGED AND THE BEREAVED: Still tired and sometimes limping from a fall and a traveler’s intestine, today I was to sleep late. Our Project Director in Haiti, Frandy Daniel, was to recover from yesterday. It was his extremely sad earthquake anniversary day, memorializing the deaths of his earthquake-killed mother, father and brother. But Frandy woke me early, telling me his anxiety that we be promptly secure our budding and surprising alliance with local police. He reluctantly tells me he is also worried about his wife and her very advanced pregnancy, in which she and he differ about the wisdom of her continuing to work. They love each other greatly and are soon to be blessed with a baby girl, already named.
A NEW ALLIANCE WITH POLICE: we want our two agencies to fund the “children’s celebration of police” parade which I had suggested to Chief of Delmas Police, Alain Auguste. He was very enthused that our agency wants to praise his department’s vigorous actions in their difficult task of arresting often dangerous accused rapists. About thirty percent are thugs surrounding the tent camps. About 55 percent are neighbors living in tents, with angry family members protesting their accused family member being arrested for such a small crime. Police often have a despairing struggle with the uselessness of arresting rapists. There is not only police corruption, but police are discouraged by more serious corruption at local court levels such as judges accepting bribes to release rapists before trial. Our own project can confirm the judicial corruption, as we have literally been offered bribes. Once Frandy pretended to accept, photographed the money and returned it to the judge. Fortunately the two judges involved have now been dismissed, not only because of our complaints. The Police Chief, Alain is a person we expect to rise in Haitian ranks. He controls police now in four camps of the seven our project serves. Fortunately he has a very deep understanding of some of the cultural, historical, community, parental, police and justice system problems in prosecution of child-rapists.
ANALYST AS WILLY SUTTON IN REVERSE: After an entire two days of failed attempts by my agency to send me funds for a proposed girls’ parade, via Western Union, our executive director Jessie Rios had finally succeeded late last night. She needed to prove beyond reason that she had a valid purpose, valid identity, and the source and recipient were a humanitarian organization. This morning, though no banks were open as they were yesterday, for us to deposit the money, we received it a lump of $8,000. We needed it to start our project’s bank account in Haiti. It was half in Haitian Gourdes, half in U.S. We already knew of dangers to cash recipients in Haiti. One working for MediShare was shot dead exiting a bank door with $15,000 cash in such a situation last year. Thus Frandy and I had a body guard and sped by a an unusual route back to my hotel. There we had a hotel manager count, photograph, seal an envelope with the money and lock it away. Frandy also used a ruse atWestern Union, saying I was leaving my hotel and headed for the airport, but he was still worried about our safety, saying “I know my country.” Reversing Sutton’s caper, I had escaped the bank, with my agency’s own money, but with all the stealth as if a robber.
MORE ABOUT INNER STATE: I increasingly think of my preventive medical heroes, Lister, Koch, Pasteur, Semmelweis, who formed my childhood ambitions and my preventive psychiatry career. My state of mind is increasingly brought back to civil rights days, 1945, my own precocious youth in the civil rights movement. During wartime at age fifteen I was in college at the University of Cincinnati, then a staunchly racist Mason-Dixon Line town. There I formed a Fellowship Council and desegregated the university dormitory – formerly Whites Only. Holding eat-ins and then a mixed race party at local segregated restaurants, my car was chased by a bartender whom I later learned was an armed Ku Klux Klanner. My passengers and I barely escaped, mostly because the family car I had borrowed was fast and more agile than the chaser’s and I knew better than he the dark road to the safe haven of my own home’s driveway and garage. Very quickly, the campus and restaurants all yielded to our fellowship council’s efforts. During a spring break, another Cincinnatian and future psychoanalyst – Milton Bronstein — and I traveled toMiamion a Greyhound bus, holding it a motionless hostage to its own racist policies by sitting in the back until a black woman was allowed to sit up front. When the University of Cincinnati then wouldn’t accept me for long months, because I was a political radical, I gladly rejected their belated favorable decision and instead went to Harvard Medical School. It seemed only days (it was years) before I was sewing scalps in anti-war riots in Washington D.C. My son-in-law marched for civil rights in Selma, Alabama with Cheney and Goodman. Perhaps that was part of my civil-rights active oldest daughter’s attraction. She did her part for many years in that movement. Now she, Jodie Kliman, Ph.D. is helping with this Haitian project and produced the Creole guided activity workbook which preceded the current phase.
Haitian civil rights today seem far less advanced today than even Cincinnati’s dismal status for blacks when I was there 68 years ago. They are based on a Creole vs. French language, shades of color and class system rather than mostly race. Children certainly have fewer rights than any Haitians, and are raped with impunity.
I’m often thinking that the slavery imposed on Haiti was never really broken as advertised. Though legally free of slavery before any nation in the world, Haiti’s slavery lives on among the decendants of former slaves themselves. There is not only grinding poverty, thanks largely as Paul Farmer states to oppression by other nations. There is remarkably bad Haitian treatment of women and children, equivalent to how the old slave masters freely raped their female and child property. Identifications with the rapacious colonial aggressors has remained powerful through centuries.
Though he is a youthful 29, heroic, multiply talented and multiply bereaved Frandy is reminding me of my gifted father’s struggles with the deaths of relatives around him and the struggles of my mother and grandmother to cope with whole family wipe-outs during in Russia. My father’s Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, his guilty response to the death of his mother – as if he could have saved her from metastatic carcinoma if only he could have afforded to buy radium the doctors recommended. Are these survivorships of my parents still pervading me, a hundred years later? Am I, like Haitians, transgenerationally traumatized. I think so, but I can do something about it for myself and them.
HAITIAN VICTIMS WANT THE WORLD TO KNOW:
These citizens at Camp Haiti Bloc invited me to come from the U.S. They are happy because I promised to put their complaints on U.S. television.
AGONIZING EVALUEES AND A JUSTICE SYSTEM THAT RESPONDS: This child’s mother wants the world to know of her baby’s plight.
Yesterday I saw a raped two year old rape victim who broke my heart. She is still, numb, withdrawn, and has lost her language development. How like my grandmother who was mute for three months in my very early childhood after learning that 15 of our Russian relatives were killed in a pogrom. This baby’s mother permits her photos and videos to be seen by others and is demanding justice. The father of this child discovered her in the process of being raped in a nearby tent. We are working to dissuade him from killing the rapist, who is still living in the camp. If some of our grants go through we will be setting up a therapeutic day care and preschool for children like this girl. A larger number of toddlers, four hundred babies born of rape since the earthquake – in just seven camps — are waiting to be served as their young mothers struggle with grave ambivalence.
In just a few minutes we are about to see a teen age girl who was given HIV by a rapist. After sending her for testing, we learned that neither of her parents have HIV. We are told the rapist has confessionally stated to police he was knowingly and deliberately spreading the disease in anger at an American woman who gave him the disease. He now wants as many people as possible to die from HIV.
The teenage child, whom I am waiting to see as I write this, is one of twenty various kinds of child rape victims whose cases will be heard in what we hope will be an exemplary process in a high court. That is rather than as previously in lower courts where corruption was easier. That hearing may happen as soon as February 4th. I want to be sure of the merits of the children’s complaints and if I find them credible, be able to back up their case with my videotaped evaluations. Hopefully my decades of honing forensic skills informed by my psychoanalytic thinking will be applicable in a Haitian court.
MORE PROGRESS: Almost three months have gone by since I visited Haiti last. In that time, in the seven camps with 300,000 residents we are serving, child rapes have dropped from 300 a month to zero and are holding at zero. If this result keeps holding we will have prevented 900 children from being raped by January 22nd. The cost? Thirty thousand dollars of our U.S. agency’s funds have been expended. Thirty dollars per child rape prevented. Do you like that cost-benefit?
WHY YOU SHOULD STAY TUNED: Learn about the Girls’ Marching soon with Police. Is it going to become like an Arab Spring? Will the UN’s UNFPA really ever fund our project as they say repeatedly say it is worthy and they will? What else must Frandy do to persuade UNFPA still further and further of his and our capacity and integrity? Will the influential Mayor of Delmas Meet with us? Will Frandy be assaulted again? Does our distribution of cell phones with cameras work to help stop child rapes in Haitian tent cities? How safe from retaliation am I and the complaining victims, children sometimes threatened and sometimes victims of further bodily harm? What is the effect on potential child rapists of being “watched” via camp committee meetings, US Television programs and now cell phone cameras? Is there other research supporting or explaining the remarkable effectiveness of our project? Can an 83 year old psychoanalyst continue to do much more that is worthwhile in a strange and violent land? Why is it not so strange and uncannily resembles his own English speaking, white, Jewish, inner world?
If you like a high cost-benefit ratio for your philanthropy send money via www.childrenspsychological.org. I promise Frandy and the Children’s Psychological Health Center will use it parsimoniously and well to prevent many children from being raped. Never in Haiti has this happened before, or perhaps in any refugee camps, that so many raped children have benefitted and so many child rapes prevented with such little cost.
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