As the United States returns to embrace Cuba, we find that some things have not changed.
By Patricia Grogg
HAVANA TIMES, May 25 (IPS) - Mercedes Toyo has begun smiling again, but only after years of crying and enduring violence, though painful memories continue to haunt her. “Now I’m falling in love with a 50-year-old man who tells me that I’m very withdrawn, that I don’t pay much attention to him,” she explained in the living room of her home.
Her story is no different from those of other women who have been battered by their partners. The Cuban Constitution and numerous laws assure women’s equality and the protection of the family, but the abuse that occurs in the intimacy of the home doesn’t always escape the fear and prejudice, nor is it reported to the authorities or tabulated in statistics.
“I never thought about going to the police; it would have been worse. Plus, nobody ever does that, everything remained within the family,” said a 55-year-old professional, who also went through that painful experience in her first marriage.
Ten years earlier, Toyo did in fact go to the authorities when she felt that her husband was going to kill her.