Meet Eramithe Delva.
Eramithe is a co-founder of KOFAVIV (Komisyon Fanm Viktim pou Viktim/ Commission on Women Victims for Victims), an organization that works to end rape and sexual violence in Haiti.
Over the last decade, Eramithe has worked to meet the needs of rape survivors in the poorest communities of Haiti’s capital.
In the early 1990’s, members of Haiti’s military dictatorship violently raped Eramithe because of her work as a political activist in Port-au-Prince. This experience compelled her to seek justice. When the authorities failed to prosecute the perpetrators, Eramithe took matters in to her own hands. She co-founded KOFAVIV in 2004, and began to provide much needed legal and medical support to survivors of sexual violence.
Since the earthquake of 2010, Eramithe’s work has become even more critical. Poor conditions in the internally displaced peoples (IDP) camps, and a lack of security, led to epidemic levels of rape and sexual violence. Eramithe responded by distributing “rape whistles” and creating a system of solidarity among women in her IDP camp. These whistles alert women to immediately respond to a woman being attacked or threatened. The campaign saw incredible success! The number of rape cases within the camp dropped from 40 cases per month to two cases. Whistles are now used in camps across Port-au-Prince.
Eramithe also facilitates workshops that equip women to better understand their human rights, defend themselves against other attacks and overcome their trauma. She is dedicated to providing a safe space for sexual assault survivors to gather and seek support. Eramithe is the catalyst of an unprecedented grassroots movement involving rape survivors mobilizing for social change. As a result of her work, survivors are breaking their silence.
As they demand justice, KOFAVIV staff face threats and harassment. This year, unidentified men have threatened KOFAVIV staff with a series of escalating attacks in an attempt to intimidate. Eramithe and her colleagues have been targeted as strong defenders of women’s rights in Haiti. Despite these very real risks, Eramithe remains committed to leading the struggle against gender-based violence in Haiti.