Our Work

Access to Justice

Sexual and Gender Based Violence

Women and girls face barriers to justice that leave 53 percent of the country’s population vulnerable to violence, poverty, and exclusion. While 1 in 8 women in Haiti report having experienced sexual violence (DHS, 2017), justice for violence against women and girls is challenged by a legal framework that did not criminalize rape until 2005 and has been long-stalled in fully criminalizing others forms of violence, such as domestic and intimate partner violence.

IJDH and BAI joined with women activists Haiti and international partners to launch the Haiti Rape Accountability and Prevention Project (RAPP) as a response to the epidemic of violence and sexual assault in displacement camps in the wake of the January 12, 2010 earthquake, and the urgent need to safeguard women and girls.

Originating among women activists in internal displacement camps, BAI and IJDH collaborate with women-oriented and women-led organizations to directly serve women and girl survivors of sexual and gender-based violence and challenge both both stigma and practices that affect the pursuit of justice and accountability. While the earthquake and its aftermath reinforced existing vulnerabilities, SGBV remains a significant burden on women and girls in Haiti. RAPP programming brings together direct legal service, medico-legal partnership, community organizing, and public advocacy to secure justice for individual survivors, establish legal precedent for prosecution of sexual and gender-based violence in Haitian courts, empower women and girls as rights enforcers, and shift attitudes and norms that enable impunity and undervalue justice for SGBV.

Impact

RAPP is building on the BAI programming over 25 years to strengthen Haiti’s legal system and protections for historically excluded communities. Programming is establishing the precedent that sexual violence is an important crime and that perpetrators will face serious, enforced penalties, towards the goal potential to reduce risks that can drive girls and women away from the schools, jobs, and opportunities critical to ensure current and future livelihoods, maximize quality of life, and empower women and girls to fulfill their potential and full participation in society.