Ruth Auguste is the author of “The Children of Injustice,” the first memoir written by a sexual abuse survivor of Haitian descent. She is also the owner of World Gifters, a non-profit organization that helps female victims of domestic violence in Haiti.
Cendrine Marrouat: Hello Ruth, thank you for answering my questions. First, tell us a little more about you.
Ruth Auguste: I was born and raised in Haiti. I grew up witnessing violence in my household, and I suffered extensive abuses committed by my stepfather. I was fifteen years old, when my mother died. Because of the loss of my mother my uncle sponsored me to immigrate to Canada. I did my high school in Vancouver, BC and completed my Administrative and Leadership studies in Burnaby, British Columbia.
I love singing and I released a single, “We Are One Nation,” a couple of years ago.
In 1996 I married the love of my life, Garry Auguste, and I found in him all the love and encouragement I needed to reclaim my identity. We are raising our three beautiful children in a violence-free environment, and we are teaching them to never close their eyes on injustice.
I am a co-founder of World Gifters Society, a non-profit organization devoted to the well-being of women and children in Haiti. I am enthusiastic and passionate about issues that matters to Haiti.
CM: In “The Children of Injustice,” your latest book, you tell the reader about your childhood during the darkest days of the Duvaliers’ reign of terror over Haiti. Is there a particular event that triggered your desire to write it?
RA: There are many events that lead me to write this but the one that impacted me the most was a young girl I met in Port-au-Prince near the soccer stadium. This ten-year-old girl took refuge in the cemetery because she was orphaned. Her story renewed my calling to share my story. She reminded me of my responsibility to tell the world of this crisis that is ravaging our society and the world.
CM: How challenging was it to write about what you went through as a child?
RA: It was like I was reliving these painful days again. The more I wrote, the more I isolated myself from the world, including my family. I am grateful for my husband and my children for their support during those days. Without them I am not sure if today would have a meaning for me. It was like trying to put puzzle together trying to understand why. Why me? Why did it happen that way? Why didn’t anybody do anything about it.
CM: Would you share a short extract from the book?
As a toddler and young child, I had witnessed my mother begging the Haitian authorities for help with Pressoir, but she was ignored because there would be nothing for the authorities to gain in helping her. I was sickened that absolutely nothing had changed since my mother’s death in 1989. How would she have felt if she had come back to life and seen that women were still trapped by a broken Haitian society and forced to continue their senseless suffering? I often reflected back on my conversation with the young wife and mother in the hospital, for I saw it as a tiny snapshot of many women and children across Haiti were living on a daily basis, but could not escape from because they had children to feed, they had no economic stability, and they had nowhere to seek shelter if they left. Her words stayed with me for many, many years.
I have come to realize that it was not my mother and I who failed; it was our county that failed to protect us. In fact, Haiti has a horrible record of protecting women and children, which can be traced to the very heart of the male-centered government. As a result, there are very few programs and services for women who are suffering at the hands of men. For as long as I can remember, the Haitian government has used widespread fear tactics to ensure that people do not rise up to demand their rights continue.
End of part 1.
Cendrine Marrouat may be contacted for potential interviews, reviews and general enquiries at firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: www.cendrinemarrouat.com.