Two months ago today, a massive earthquake struck Haiti, killing almost 225,000 people and leaving more than a million people homeless. For them, especially the women and girls, panic sets in every night as the sun retreats.
The women here talk of mauvais esprits (bad spirits) stalking the survivors of the devastating earthquake.
"Young men come with weapons and rape the women. They haven't reported it, because the hospitals, the police — everything was destroyed in the earthquake," reports Hannah, a nurse who sleeps in a makeshift tent in a volatile camp outside of Port-au-Prince.
Incidence of rape in Haiti was high before the earthquake and, now, women and girls are even more vulnerable: streets still are dark due to lack of electricity, and crowded camps and unprotected bathing and toilet areas leave women and girls vulnerable to harassment and sexual brutality.
Recently, we asked you to add your voice by signing our "Voices Against Violence" petition. Now, you can take the next step by making a tax-deductible gift to CARE today. Your donation helps CARE foster women's empowerment, including helping to reduce and prevent gender-based violence in Haiti and many other poor communities around the world.
The consequences of gender-based violence are serious and felt not only by the survivors, but also their communities. In addition to serious reproductive and general health risks, survivors often suffer deep psychological scars that endure for the rest of their lives.
CARE's extensive programming addresses the needs of poor women and girls, many of whom are at risk of gender-based violence. Some examples include:
- Helping to establish centers in Haiti to provide comprehensive programs on women's health and counseling for survivors of violence.
- Building well-lit, segregated latrines and showers and taking other measures to increase security for women and girls in Haiti.
- Working with community clinics, local organizations and governments worldwide so that women can confidentially report sexual violence and receive the care they need.
Let us not ignore the mauvais esprits that prey on women and girls in Haiti and around the world. Please make a gift to CARE today, and help create a brighter future for all.
Helene D. Gayle, MD, MPH
President and CEO, CARE