Until 1979, Haitian law deemed married women as minors who were subject to and accountable to their husbands. The constitution also required that a woman turn over all that she inherits to her husband, and if she wants to run a business, she must receive authorization from her husband. Such legal requirements foster the idea of women as dependents on their male partners.
In addition to being considered legally subordinate, acceptance of abuse against women was implicitly established in the Haitian Penal Code prior to its revision in 2005. Previously, under Article 269, a man was permitted to kill his wife if he caught her in an act of adultery: “Murder committed by a husband against his wife and/or her accomplice or both, should he surprise them and catches them in the act in the conjugal home, is excusable.” On the contrary, a Haitian woman was not granted the same “legal license to kill their unfaithful husbands,” who only faced a maximum of $50 fine if he were convicted of adultery.