Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Haiti: Women and girls displaced victims of gender violence

by Juliana Rincón Parra, Translated by Gabriela Garcia Calderon Orbe

After the devastating earthquake in Haiti, women and girls continue to face gender violence, as some of them have not only been raped, but have also faced a judicial system absent and no adequate medical services.

Tent City in Haiti by Edyta Materka

Tent City of Edyta Materka under a Creative Commons Attribution license .

The Ms. Blog Magazine, Gina Ulysse wrote Rape, part of daily life for women in Haitian refugee camps , which points to the report of rape in the camps of internally displaced persons (IDP), the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti ( IJDH , by its acronym in English) and mother , as the source of the frightening statistics on violence against women.

Many women and girls have lost their support networks, and also parents, brothers and husbands or boyfriends that they could protect them. Being cramped quarters on the field really limits your privacy, many public should shower and sleep next to strangers or where they are vulnerable to attack. Once the attacks occurred, which nuchos gang rape cases are even more ordeals they face: most have no way to receive medical care professional women and the justice system is almost nonexistent, leaving them from corruption the police and the authorities re victimize, in addition to carrying the stigma of having been attacked and knowing that his attackers are still free. Ulysse writes:

Women’s access to justice has been even worse. Women who report violations-and are already struggling with the stigma and the psychological effects of sexual assault, often get teased or ignored by the police. In some cases, these women have also been faced with police corruption. Moreover, cases have been prosecuted in the Haitian judicial system. The survivors are still vulnerable because they still live in the same areas of the fields where they were attacked and their rapists remain free. Several women have reported being raped on several occasions since the earthquake.

The IJDH, Partners in Health and the Defense Program New Media released a video a few months ago with testimonies from victims . The material was recorded by Sandy Berkowitz and edited by Harriet Hirshorn.

While women struggle to get back to normal, it is unlikely that their situation will improve as the temporary camps appear to be becoming permanent housing. In January, C ARE USA interviewed Dr. Franck Généus , health program coordinator of CARE in Haiti, and asked about the reasons why there is a greater risk of rape in these fields. The doctor mentioned the features that make the camps of internally displaced persons fertile ground for attacks: a lack of electricity, which means that the fields are totally dark at night, badly organized camps and installations of bathrooms and toilets are not separated, preventing men and women have their own.

Janet Meyers, Gender Advisory CARE also provides ideas on how the fields should be established so that women are safer after the quake , noting many of the same problems last February. I wonder how many of these issues remain unresolved and if, as these fields become more permanent installations, simply pave the way for the occurrence of more attacks.

Click HERE to see the Original Article 

Contact IJDH

Institute for Justice & Democracy In Haiti
867 Boylston Street, 5th Floor
Boston, MA 02116

Telephone: (857)-201-0991
General Inquiries:
Media Inquiries: