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Stephenson, Member of the Executive

Committee

I am 26-years-old and was born in Port-au-Prince. I think my family always knew I was masisi, and even after I told them, they still did not kick me out luckily, despite the fact they told me to remain a discreet as possible out of fear partly that something may happen to me, partly that they would be ashamed by such a scandal in their family. We live in a poor neighborhood. I am effeminate, and luckily my neighborhood respects me because I was always very respectful of others and discrete. People insult me all the time, by I was never in any danger…or so I thought.

 

One year ago, that all changed. A man threw a rock at me, then another bigger rock that really hurt, while he was calling me a masisi. I responded to him that he did not have the right to hit me, and I started to argue with him. Very quickly, a group of guys arrived with all sorts of items, including a machete, and they started to beat me up. They hit me with the machete, but luckily, I succeeded to flee by running through the front door of a house on the street and escaping out the back. I thought I was going to die that day, and I am pretty sure I would have had I not been able to flee as such.

 

The next day, I went to the police to file a complaint. The police officers laughed at me and refused to register my affidavit. They told me it was my fault – because I was masisi – that my aggressors provoked me. Humiliated and degraded, I finally returned hom where I preferred to lie to my family about my wounds in order to not hear yet again that it was my fault because I was not « discrete. »

 

My cuts have since scarred and they no longer hurt, but the fear stays with me when I walk in the streets, fear of being attacked again. I don’t have the economic means to move to another neighborhood. In this country, the only way to avoid the risk of being attacked when one is masisi is to live in a secure house in a well-off neighborhood and to travel in a private car. I didn’t know what to do until Charlot contacted me to ask if would like to become a member of KOURAJ.

Now, I am part of strong group of people who like me no longer with to see youth suffer and be treated like we endured everyday in Haiti. I engage with KOURAJ because I know it is a risk, but one that I already take everyday in the streets. If I am hit now, at least I know to whom I can speak to protect my rights instead of simply looking the other way. I am scared, yet convinced that we have no other choice but to join in this universal struggle.

 

For more (stephenson@kouraj.org)