by Michelle Chen
Monday, May 23 2011, 9:06 AM EST Tags: haiti, international aid, sexual violence
This month, Port-au-Prince hailed Michel Martelly as he took office as president, trumpeting new hope for his disaster-stricken country. Elsewhere in the Haitian capital, hope was stifled in the smothered screams of women and girls.
More than a year after a massive earthquake sent the city crumbling to the ground, the chaos continues to reverberate in refugee camps through a wave of systematic sexual violence. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has reported widespread rape and sexual violence against women. The IOM notes that rising reports of sexual violence may be “linked to a growing trust between survivors and the police and service providers,” but safety protections for women and girls are still desperately lacking. And the primary problem remains that, nearly one year and a half after disaster struck, some 680,000 people still languish in squalid encampments.
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