Help the women of Haiti
It has been over a year since the devastating earthquake in Haiti that left over 230,000 people dead, and many homeless. Despite the overwhelming support and outpouring help rendered, the nation still faces many challenges. In the aftermath of one of the most catastrophic natural disasters the world has yet seen, violence has taken centre stage especially with the poor living conditions of the vast majority.
News correspondents out of Haiti report that the women living in makeshift camps are raped and abused everyday. Because these temporary homes are neither safe nor secure, many women have to live in fear of being violated. To date, at least 250 cases of rape have been documented, which is appalling. A young girl who was raped by another boy living the camp couldn’t go to the police because she didn’t know who had raped her. The conditions for a favorable and flourishing legal system are marred by the complete breakdown of social structures and systems, and the chances of these women receiving justice have reduced significantly.
There has been a complete breakdown of the justice system since the earthquake, and even if the legal system were still standing on a single leg, its effectiveness would be limited. It is hard for any justice system to survive under the glaring eye of violence, plunder, poverty and harsh living conditions. People usually turn to whatever can offer an easy fix, and in this situation, violence, plunder and havoc might seem like a solution to all the circumstances beyond human comprehension. Security forces in Haiti have been finding it increasingly hard to keep track of all the crimes, let alone provide longstanding solutions.
The police can’t do much if victims are unable to identify their violators. Additionally, rape victims need therapeutic and social avenues through which they can psychologically cope, after these traumatic experiences. However, a majority of these women cannot afford, because they are poor and lack the resources to take care of themselves. It is truly devastating that women in Haiti have to live with such pain in addition to all that they have already been through.
There is also no security in these camps because they are located in an open field. A lot of the women in these camps are unprotected and the police can’t do much to support their security since the camps are overcrowded.
Even though reconstruction plans are underway and attempts to restructure the economy have taken off, a lot of work still needs to be done. And as the rest of the world tries to contribute to these efforts, the social affairs of Haiti seem to have been put on hold. In the midst of all the restoration programs, it is imperative that we do not forget about the human rights of Haitians especially the women who are under attack right now.
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