Haiti Lawyers collect rape survivor accounts and plan legal strategy

U.S. Delegation Finds Inadequate Response, and “Victim-Blaming” Approach to

Rapes in Haitian Displacement Camps

Lawyers collect rape survivor accounts and plan legal strategy

PORT-AU-PRINCE (May 14, 2010) – In over a week of on-site interviews and exploration, a delegation of U.S. lawyers, health professionals, and community activists found continued alarming rates of rape and other gender-based violence (GBV) in the displaced persons camps throughout Port-au-Prince since the Haitian earthquake in January. Expressed sentiments on the part of some Haitian government officials that victims are somehow to blame for the rapes is outrageous to human rights attorneys and community members, who find that women face a grave lack of security necessary to prevent and respond to the sexual violence crisis. Medical services are overwhelmed and unable to meet women’s healthcare needs stemming from the assaults.

 

“It is critical that we dispel the myth that these rapes are a result of promiscuity,” Blaine Bookey, an attorney with the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), and coordinator of the delegation.

“These are violent crimes being perpetrated by strangers in the dark of night and they merit the attention of the police and other groups helping organize the camps.”

The vast majority of the women and girls reported being raped by groups of armed, unknown assailants who often beat them in the course of the attack, and threatened them with further violence if they reported the rape. Perpetrators often attack at night, when women are asleep beside their children or when they go to the latrines where men wait for them in the dark stalls. “It is totally unacceptable for these rapes to continue to go unpunished,” said Mario Joseph, Managing Attorney at Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI), which hosted the delegation at its office in Port-au-Prince. “We are now building strong legal cases to hold rapists accountable and bring these women the justice they deserve.”

Women who report rapes to the police describe being turned away, not taken seriously, or told to notify the police if they see the rapists again. “Pa tap vini” or “They never would have come,” described one woman as to why she did not report her rape. These experiences foster the perception that reporting to the police is futile, especially if the survivor cannot identify her assailants. “If we are going to overcome a culture of complete impunity for rapists, we must create environments in which survivors are comfortable reporting these crimes and where they will be taken seriously” said Lisa Davis, an attorney with MADRE.

Information regarding medical and legal services for survivors of rape is largely unavailable, and where available, it is generally incorrect and incomplete. Where services exist, women face prohibitively long waits, lack of privacy, and limited access to female healthcare providers. “I accompanied a 15-year-old rape survivors to the General Hospital, where we waited for three hours before being led to a dirty cot in a public room, where a male doctor was to conduct the exam. I ended up conducting the exam myself in another doctor’s living quarters,” said Betsy Freeman, women’s health specialist on the delegation. Medical certificates, instrumental in documenting cases of rape, are not reliably issued.

Based on these findings, the Port-au-Prince based BAI and LERN call on the government of Haiti, UN agencies, donor nations, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) working in Haiti to immediately improve services for rape survivors, and take concrete steps to reduce rape in the camps. Police patrols must increase to include all camps, and officers must patrol inside the camps, not just around the perimeter. Patrols should, where possible, include female officers. Police stations must have female officers who can help victims file reports, and all officers should have training to sensitively take women’s reports.

About the Organizations

Coordinated by the IJDH-organized Lawyers’ Earthquake Response Network (LERN), the delegation included representatives from MADRE, the University of Virginia School of Law, TransAfrica Forum the ABA Section of International Law, and the law firm of Morrison and Foerster. Members met with grassroots women’s organizations, including KOFAVIV and FAVILEK, and larger NGOs including Kay Fanm and SOFA.

Since January 12, LERN now has over 360 lawyers and law students responding to various post-earthquake needs. IJDH and BAI fight for human rights and justice in Haiti and for fair and just treatment of Haitians in the United States.



María Suárez Toro,
Esta dirección de correo electrónico está siendo protegida contra los robots de spam. Necesita tener JavaScript habilitado para poder verlo.
506 22491319

 

28 de Mayo 
Día de Acción por la Salud de las Mujeres

--------------

3 de Diciembre
Día de las Personas con Discapacidad

Mil millones de personas viven con alguna discapacidad, 80 de cada 100 están en los países más pobres.
----------------------

1 de Diciembre
Día Mundial de lucha contra el Sida

35,3 millones de personas viven con VIH. En este día expresamos solidaridad y reclamamos medicamentos para todos los que los necesitan.

----------------------

 10 de Diciembre
Día Mundial de los Derechos Humanos

--------------------------

11 de Octubre
Día Internacional de las Niñas

2belin copy

-------------------------

28 de Septiembre
Día por la despenalización del aborto en América Latina y el Caribe
------------------------

20 de Junio
Día Internacional de las Personas Refugiadas

Actualmente existen más de 45 millones de personas que se han visto forzadas a desplazarse de sus lugares de origenes. Solo 20 de cada 100 serán recibidas en países desarrollados.

23 de Junio
Día Internacional de las Viudas

115 millones de viudas viven  bajo la línea de pobreza. De ellas 81 millones sufren malos tratos físicos, a menudo por sus propios familiares.
Muchas se convierten en esclavas de la familia del marido, otras son expulsadas, u obligadas a casarse con un familiar.  

----------------------

8 de Marzo
Día Internacional de las Mujeres Trabajadoras

 

facebook-icon twitter radio feminista
 

_INDRANI_NELLY
VIDEO

_NATAHLEE
VIDEO

no_violencia

Descarga "Aquí No entra la Violencia"

 afiche_serie_rif_peque

no me etiquetes2

alerta

Please publish modules in offcanvas position.