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Woman To Women Task Force

While domestic violence crosses all racial, ethnic and economic boundaries, the problem is a growing concern to agencies that serve Florida's Haitian community, and they fight to raise awareness of an issue many still consider taboo. In March, ROICH Women to Woman in Distress program formed a Haitian Creole support group in Orlando and Tampa. It quickly filled up.

Sometimes Haitian women don't know where to go, ROICH who facilitates the group at Women to woman In Distress and pounds the pavement spreading information in the Haitian community. "In some cases the men are the sole breadwinners and the women are intimidated."  Immigration status can complicate the issue. A woman who is here illegally may be silenced by an abuser's threat to alert authorities if she tries to get help.

ROICH and other advocates stress to clients that their legal protection does not depend on their status. Under the Violence Against Women Act, they can apply for asylum.  In Central Florida and the Tampa Bay areas, with an estimated 80,000 Haitians, no one knows how many domestic violence victims are Haitian

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