I heard screaming and realized that for a couple of weeks she wore dark glasses so that no one would notice the bruises. Her husband is a militant in the Party and in the neighborhood nobody criticizes his testosterone excesses. Both are part of a pattern of domestic violence, hushed up in the media, that takes root in everyday life. The victims, as she does, feel doubly battered. Added to the slap and the scream is the silence of those who don’t want to accept, let alone make it public, that harmony and respect do not always reign behind the doors of Cuban homes.
Forced cohabitation, due to lack of housing, leaves many women and children subjected to humiliation and beatings. We can’t hear their testimony as, institutionally, it is barely recognized that domestic violence is common on this “idyllic island.” Without disclosure of the statistics that show its frequency, it’s difficult to influence national public opinion and bring it to bear to reject these attacks.
How can a woman, who flees home to avoid the fists of her husband, know how to find a shelter where she can spend the night if not through information in the media? How will she know about her rights to bring her attacker to court if TV and newspapers don’t talk about it? How can we create a social condemnation of the abusers, when we barely acknowledge there are victims? We see them putting up with it, hiding the punches under rouge, and looking at us to see if we realize what the institutions and the media don’t seem to notice.