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"Our Bodies Are Still Trembling: Haitian Women's Fight Against Rape"

Via @Aroundharlem on my Twitter feed. A new report about sexual violence against the women and girls of Haiti following the earthquake. Not surprising in that we know that when civilization unravels, women and girls suffer mightily. Here is more about a report that was created as a result of a collaboration between.


In May and June, MADRE joined delegations coordinated by the Lawyers' Earthquake Response Network (LERN) to Haiti to investigate the problem of rape and other gender-based violence in the camps. We found that women are being raped at an alarming rate—every day—in camps throughout Port-au-Prince. The Haitian Government, the UN and others in the international community have failed to adequately address the situation. Women, especially poor women, have been excluded from full participation and leadership in the relief effort.

Today, the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), MADRE, TransAfrica Forum and the Universities of Minnesota and Virginia law schools released this Report, Our Bodies Are Still Trembling: Haitian Women's Fight Against Rape. The report aims to bring to light the crisis and guide governments, international organizations and other stakeholders in providing for even more effective protection and promotion of women’s human rights in Haiti. MADRE


More about MADRE:


MADRE is an international women’s human rights organization that works in partnership with community-based women's organizations worldwide to address issues of health and reproductive rights, economic development, education and other human rights. MADRE


91 % of their funding goes to program services.

Reader Comments (16)

*sigh* I knew this was coming. I'm just surprised it took so long before it was brought to light. And, sadly, I'm not surprised by the Hatian government's lackadaisical attidude.

Thanks for providing us a way to help these women and girls. *Off to visit the Madre website and make a donation....*

July 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMommieDearest

This is so sad.Like the other poster I knew it was gonna happen too.As was said women are always raped and attacked when civilization starts to unravel.I will do what I can to support the women of Haiti.I just came home from a Victims of crime meeting Gem.Black Women really need to learn how to protect ourselves cause it seems as if we are on our own.

July 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTruth P.

I can't believe with hundreds of NGO's in Haiti that no one saw this coming and stopped it before it started.

July 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterVal

Thank you for bringing this up. Like you said in the post about Essence, even if you don't get a lot of comments it's important to know about. Especially when mainstream media doesn't consider things to be worth covering. Or I could have missed it because I don't have cable.

July 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLincoln

Well, this was bound to happen. I've heard some pretty terrible stories about Haiti being a refuge for child trafficking for years now. 91% is amazing, thank you Gina for the information on how to donate.

July 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDailyLattes

So heartbreaking. Stories like this are rarely covered in the mainstream media. Thanks for sharing.

July 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterObatalaBabay

I've nver heard of MADRE. Thanks for the info.

July 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMJ

I've been reading about the sexual violence enaacted against women and girls for a while. Some are also targeting trans women specifically. Of course since Wyclef is trying to take over Haiti (he's going to run for office) and fix all of this one mistress and mismanaged fund at a time.

July 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFaith

Thanks for the information...I will research further.

July 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBewick

Great article about Haiti! Haiti has had some serious problems with violence against women and girls for many years. And as you know, children being "adopted" or being "household help" has also been a problem.

The earthquake was a great shock (no pun intended) to so many people; many of us, Haitians included, had never heard of earthquakes in that part of the Caribbean. But I did not cry for Haiti until I read about the deaths of three courageous sisters who were leading organizers/activists around women's rights, Myriam Merlet, Magalie Marcelin and Anne Marie Coriolan. These sisters founded three of the country's most important advocacy organizations working on behalf of women and girls.

Sis. Myriam was chief of staff of Haiti's Ministry for Gender and the Rights of Women. Sis. Magalie was a lawyer and two years ago had a court case of a prominent man who beat his wife. She asked the women of the community to pack the courtroom to show that women do care about justice; the man was later convicted. Sis. Anne Marie was also a top advisor to the women's rights ministry and she was the founder of Solidarite Famm Ayisyen (Solidarity With Haitian Women), a advocacy and social services organization.

Blogmother, thanks so very much for this piece and let us always remember these courageous sisters and the work they did. Let us also remember the many other grassroots organizations in Haiti, that may be small, but are honest and faithful to the mission of serving the people, especially those organizations that advocate for education, the rights of LGBTQ, the elderly, those people who are HIV/AIDS positive, women and girls, etc.

Now, let's ask former prez Bush, former prez Slick Willie, the Red Cross, et.al, where the money at? How come things are not yet better for the people? :( :(

July 30, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterrevmamaafrika

Thank you for sharing this report Gina. I've been waiting to get involved with Haitian earthquake relief efforts in the right way and I think this is the ticket. Also, I'm not sure what your source is for "91 % of their funding goes to program services" but according to Charity Navigator they spend 89.8% of their funds on program expenses and have a rating of 3 out of 4 stars.


July 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAdrienne

Gem I am so saddened by the news that Wyclef will be running for president of Haiti.People in Haiti idolize him, he could win.I fear for the women and girls of Haiti because most black men don't seem to focus on the issues affecting women and girls when they are in positions of power it hurt my heart to hear about R.kelly performing in a place like South Africa where rape of women in girls is at an all time high.I'm sickened by all of this.

August 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTruth p

First, glad you got your blog back. I've got something I'll be talking to you about later. Anyway, I first became aware of this issue from npr. I was listening to a story about a Haitian woman who had beaten the odds and had been able to start her own business. I don't recall at the moment what the business was, but it was doing well. Anyway, she commented that her husband wasn't able to handle the fact that she was the breadwinner and left her and their children. She was worried that now that she no longer had a man she and her family were vulnerable to attacks from other men. The story left me frustrated and angry, but I didn't have anywhere to direct my anger.

August 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRoslyn Holcomb

"Anyway, she commented that her husband wasn't able to handle the fact that she was the breadwinner and left her and their children. "

Wow.... Just, WOW...

August 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMommieDearest


I know I'm coming all late to the conversation. Guess my watch is set on C.P. time(light joke to break the horrific mood this article should cause). Now I know it sucks to rehash old wounds then knife them and pour rock salt and lime juice in them, but I've noticed that no one has recognized the similarities between this and the Terrors of the Dome during Katrina. There was raping there too. Why in times of horror are black women forced to experience more horror? I really do feel for Hatian women. They were suffering even before the quake. I live in Miami so I can tell you from experience the way the sexes interact is like AA interactions on steroids. The men often laugh in their faces while going after hispanic or white women and I've even noticed other Black Caribbean women look down upon them. There was one instance where a girl was doing her laundry in a friend's apartment and both he and his mother are just dogging out the girl in Creole but when she turns and calls back at them, showing the fact that she knows the language, they just laugh it off the next day. Since moving down here I've seen colorism at its worse from Hatian men. I'm not trying to give a blanket accusation but its just from what I've seen. Funny though, in the minds of many Black Caribbean men I've met Hatian women and dark skin African American women are on the same boat. Its kinda like Neptune and Uranus, sometimes you're ahead and sometimes you're behind.

August 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGoddessM

revmamaafrika wrote

Now, let's ask former prez Bush, former prez Slick Willie, the Red Cross, et.al, where the money at? How come things are not yet better for the people? :( :(

Don't let the Haitian government off the hook. They're supposed to be ensuring the money gets to the quake victims.

August 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFred

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