Haiti Camp Rapes

Women, Social Responsibility Movies

Haiti Camp Rapes

Life in Haiti has never been easy and 20 months after the devastating earthquake, the country is still struggling to rebuild.

Over 600,000 people still have no place to call home instead they live in temporary camps.

Shirley Christian lost her mother and aunt in the earthquake.

Alone and with no place to go she moved into her own tent in a camp city near the airport.

The camps are dangerous, with little lighting or protection, leaving women particularly vulnerable.

SOUNDBITE (Creole) Shirley Christian, displaced person:
“The tents are not secure. Anyone with a razor or knife can cut the tent and come inside. There are no walls and no protection and before you know it someone is there in your tent.”

One rainy night Shirley’s worst fears came true, she was attacked.

SOUNDBITE (Creole) Shirley Christian, displaced person:
“The night of the rape it was raining very hard. I went to my tent to lay down and stay dry. A man approached me and asked if he could come in the tent. I told him my parents would be back soon and he said he knew I was lying and that I was all alone. Then he smacked me and pushed me into the tent. He hit me on the head. He threw me to the ground and raped me. After that I was haemorrhaging for a month.”

Shirley says she’s not alone in her ordeal,

SOUNDBITE (Creole) Shirley Christian, displaced person:
“Rape in the camps is very common. I have friends that come and tell me about being raped in every camp.”

The United Nations refugee agency is alarmed by the reports of sexual violence in the camps.

KOFAVIV has partnered with the UN refugee agency and is one of the few women’s organizations, in the camps, that help victims of sexual violence.

SOUNDBITE (Creole) Shirley Christian, displaced person:
“65% of the victims are minors and after the earthquake we have been seeing more children. Minors and babies 1 year to 17 years old who have been raped.”

Few incidents are reported because the women fear reprisals from their attackers.

SOUNDBITE (Creole) Shirley Christian, displaced person:
“After you have been raped in the camp, it’s terrible. You have nowhere to go. You have to return to the camp and see the person who raped you and you can’t do anything about it. People say nasty things and men threaten you.”

After the attack Shirley turned to KOFAVIV for help and counselling.

Jocie has been working with Shirley for several months.

SOUNDBITE (Creole) Jocie Philistine, KOFAVIV Director:
“Shirley right now, she is not only rehabilitated but after her reintegration into society she works as a community agent for KOFAVIV”.

KOFAVIV fills a much needed gap in the camps. Shirley explains to the women about the health and legal services that KOFAVIV provides.

SOUNDBITE (Creole) Shirley Christian, displaced person:
“KOFAVIV works with victims who have been raped. They take victims to the hospital to see a doctor then to a lawyer who will pursue the case.”

When the women meet they talk about their struggles….

SOUND-UP (Creole) Woman in group talking:
“They watch you during the daytime and then at night they wait for you to go to the bathroom and then it’s very easy for them to rape you because there is no security.”

SOUND-UP (Creole) Woman in group talking:
“Once there was a girl that lived near me. She was raped. She had no parents and nowhere to stay because she was from the provinces. She begged for money and a place to stay but no one helped. So she had to turn to selling herself and that is also a form of sexual violence.”

SOUNDBITE (Creole) Shirley Christian, displaced person:
“I like KOFAVIV because you meet these women who are scared to talk and they get them together to talk.”

In spite of all the dangerous obstacles Haitian women face, women, like Shirley, have literally emerged from the rubble and are getting their lives back on track.

SOUND-UP (Creole) Woman singing:
“I will survive. In spite of what happens to me I will survive.”


Details

Language: French

Year of Production: 2011

Length: 4 mins.

Country: Haiti

Directors:

  • Muhamed Sacirbey (UNTV-UNHCR)

Producers:

  • Susan Sacirbey (UNTV-UNHCR)