Blame it On Haiti

Mac McClellands article, I’m Gonna Need You to Fight Me on This: How Violent Sex Helped Ease My PTSD, was just a tad annoying to me. I thought that I was ok with what she wrote. I though I was being completely honest with my feedback.  Then as I was doing my values exercise for happy black women, I realize that I was not completely honest.

Here is what I really want to let to Mac Mellan know.

Dear Mac,

I am genuinely sorry that you had to experience PTSD.  I realize that it is an extremely difficult and painful mental health disorder. I found your article to be a tad hypocritical.  I want to discuss three things with you: violence, being a victim in Haiti and the women of Haiti.

You stated that you are a journalist that has been in violent places before, but somehow Haiti was the place that was uber violent. Guns, guns and more guns. I think about the other places in the world where I have been and guns are used in the same context. Your security guard has a gun, Minustah has guns, the police have guns, people who kidnap and rape have guns, and the places that you went to drink, please believe me they have guns, but somehow Haiti was more violent than the other countries that you have been to?

Second, I am just a bit tired of every white woman, being a victim, especially in Haiti. This man asked you about 87 times if he could sleep with you. Mac, there is no other place in the world where you have been where men are aggressive? I know there are other white women in Haiti, that are not just dropped in for a story (especially post earthquake) and they seem to be okay. The thing is expatriates are the minority in Haiti. So, for once instead of being so self indulgent, think, if this man hit on you 87 times how many times does it happen to a Haitian woman?  I know that Haiti is a complicated place, a place of contradictions. I do realize this, but your sweeping statements were too much.

Thirdly, I know you were there on assignment. Working and sharing stories of women that have no voice, no access, and yet somehow I forgot to hear about them. I know you briefly mentioned Shelby. My problem with assignment is that they forget Haitian are not asking for sympathy and your forgot to talk about them.  Haitians want tools to rebuild and we have a lot of areas that need work. Mac, we do not need more people feeling sorry for us. Moreover, sympathy is not going to help get across the stories the need to be shared.

Mac, I realize that your therapist encouraged and pushed you to thinking violent sex was ok in easing your PTSD. I just think you should have spent a bit more time in the piece talking about how your job is stressful, not just Haiti. You could have used your voice and platform and looked at the effects that this work has on so many women, you could have even looked at what sex crimes are look like in “violent” countries.  Instead, you choose to blame Haiti for your need to get punched in the face during sex and joke, about the thought of not having sex at gunpoint. The sad thing is women and children are being raped as I type,  women in camps around Haiti, Congo and New York  that have to have sex at gunpoint and get punched in the face and they have no idea what it is going to take to ease their PTSD. Mac, they didn’t blame it on Haiti, so I do not see why you get to blame it on Haiti?

~Lodz Joseph





~ by travelling womanists on July 6, 2011.

One Response to “Blame it On Haiti”

  1. Ms. Joseph, you are right on point!!

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