Haiti One Year Later

[Trigger warning for sexual violence.]

Back in June, I mentioned an article in the New York Times that detailed how Haiti, in the aftermath of its devastating earthquake, had become what Malya Villard, the director of grass-roots survivor support org Kofaviv, described as "an ideal climate for rape."

Today, MSNBC reports:
A year after Haiti's devastating earthquake, women in Haiti's still-teeming tent cities face yet another threat: sexual violence. With little protection from community or law enforcement, many have been violently raped, only to become pregnant with their attackers' children.

Photojournalist Nadav Neuhaus traveled through Haiti's tent cities last summer, photographing and interviewing dozens of residents in the camps that still house more than 1 million people. During a visit to Camp La Piste, home to 50,000 displaced people, Neuhaus noticed an unusually high number of pregnant women. A community organizer and a local midwife confirmed his worries: Many of the women were pregnant as a result of rape.

...Fueled in part by these sexual attacks, the birth rate in Haiti has tripled since the quake, climbing from 4 percent to 12 percent, according to population experts.

Most women told Neuhaus they don't report the rapes, either out of shame or fear of repercussions. Even if they wanted to report the crimes, there's little help in a country where police and justice systems are destroyed or distracted and where resources for the powerless are almost non-existent.
There aren't sufficient words to convey my rage and sadness.

In June, I also noted that Doctors Without Borders is treating survivors of brutal sexual assaults in Haiti. They provide "antibiotics for sexually transmitted diseases, anti-HIV treatment, pills for vaginitis, and over-the-counter painkillers," and, naturally, they are providing treatment to infants born in terrible conditions. You can donate to Doctors Without Borders here.

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