The risk of rape and gender violence against women and girls in Haiti dramatically increased after the 2010 earthquake destroyed the country. As many as 1.3 million people were displaced as a result, and have come to live in overcrowded camps where there is little security, privacy or protection – leaving women and girls to sleep, bathe and move about at risk. Perpetrators walk freely, knowing that the justice system does not have the resources to pursue them. Survivors of rape and sexual violence often do not report attacks for fear of reprisal, social stigma and a repeated attack.
Despite these challenges, women in Haiti are uniting to provide much needed protection for women and girls living in internally displaced people camps. Together, they have begun developing community based anti-rape strategies that address the immediate needs of rape survivors and prevent future attacks from occurring. Their work has begun a movement in which women demand their voices be heard and their rights be upheld – and their movement is gaining momentum.
For more information about the situation in Haiti and how grassroots organizations are working to reverse the impact on women and girls, visit KOFAVIV (Commission of Women Victims for Victims) and Madre.