Combat Sexual Violence in Haiti

by MADRE, An International Women's Human Rights Org.
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Combat Sexual Violence in Haiti
Combat Sexual Violence in Haiti
Combat Sexual Violence in Haiti

KOFAVIV works tirelessly to bring shelter and support for victims of sexual violence, and this includes supporting the victims as they go through the legal processes, from filing a complaint to the police, finding a lawyer and helping them build a case, to accompanying the victims to trials.

This past July, four cases of sexual violence for which KOFAVIV had provided assistance to the victims were tried at the courts. KOFAVIV and its local legal aid partner, the BAI (The Bureau of International Lawyers), celebrated a victory as all four aggressors in these cases were convicted and will be jailed for the crimes that they committed against the victims, all of whom are minors. KOFAVIV outreach agents and staff were present at the trials, to provide emotional support to the victims and their families but also to raise awareness about addressing and preventing sexual violence.

Although four cases is an extremely small number compared to the hundreds, if not thousands of cases of sexual violence that go unreported, it is a step in the right direction. Although the legal recourses are slow and often inaccessible to victims of sexual violence, KOFAVIV is not letting this hinder their work. Through public education campaigns, outreach events, and access to support services provided by organizations such as KOFAVIV, victims are breaking the silence and seeking justice. 

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Want your donation dollars to have the greatest possible impact?

On June 13, starting at 12:01 am EST, GlobalGiving is sponsoring a special “Bonus Day,” where every donation you make to MADRE and KOFAVIV’s “Combating Sexual Violence in Haiti” project will be matched by 50 percent—greatly increasing the impact of your generous donations!

MADRE is working with our partner KOFAVIV to end the epidemic of rape in the displacement camps by providing security, psychosocial support and medical care for survivors of rape.

Together, we are working to meet immediate needs of rape survivors in the displacement camps and develop community-based anti-violence strategies.

Your support of this project will enable us to continue our crucial work with KOFAVIV. Don’t miss this exciting opportunity to make your donation go even further, and donate today!

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“Marie”* was just 19 years old when her father died in Haiti’s devastating earthquake. Left to fend for herself without stable source of income, she struggled to make ends meet. Basic resources like food, water and shelter were often out of reach .

Marie soon found herself engaging in “survival sex,” or, the act of exchanging sex for food, money and other crucial resources to sustain herself. These men she met frequently use violence to force themselves on her, and they often refuse to wear condoms or pay her.

She is afraid of getting pregnant or contracting a disease, but she does not have the money to go to medical clinics. Sometimes she dreams of the happy days before the earthquake, when she hung out with her friends and attended school regularly.  Now, she sees little option other than survival sex. 

Marie is not the only young woman facing this crisis. So KOFAVIV began designing workshops to provide an alternative for women and girls. The workshops not only provides a safe space for women and girls to stay during the day, but also offers food and skills training. They include instruction in activities such as how to craft jewelry and clothes, how to make hair pomade, and how to paint nails.

Women are taught skills that can provide them with income and clear alternatives to survival sex. The workshops train girls to become leaders and teach them how to reach out to other women in similar circumstances. This program has proved to be extremely effective, and nearly 70 girls have taken part to date.

Much of this vital work continues because of the tireless dedication of the KOFAVIV’s outreach workers—and because of you. You can make sure that KOFAVIV’s essential outreach work continues to change lives. 

*Not her real name.

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16 Days against Gender-Based Violence

In commemoration of the 16 Days against Gender-Based Violence campaign, MADRE spoke with Eramithe Delva, the co-founder of MADRE’s Haitian sister organization KOFAVIV. Watch the video below to hear her speak about why November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and the start of the 16 days, is important to the women of KOFAVIV and what she and the organization as a whole are doing to prevent gender-based violence in Haiti:

Video: Celebrating International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women in Haiti

Additional Resources

From the myMADRE Blog

In the center of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, women are taking a stand. Today and for the next three days, our sister organization, KOFAVIV, is mobilizing an intensive new campaign to raise awareness and spark action to end violence against women.

It’s all in preparation for this Friday: the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. On this day, in Haiti and around the world, we shine a light on the violence women and girls face every day. And we honor women’s invaluable work to combat that violence.

KOFAVIV’s mission has always been to end violence against Haitian women and girls. After the earthquake, as sexual violence surged in the camps, their work became all the more crucial.

Today, at the KOFAVIV Women’s Center, they are holding a photo exhibition depicting life in the camps. They have invited representatives from other local women’s organizations, UN agencies and local authorities.

Tomorrow, they will bring together women from grassroots groups and from national and international organizations. These women will have the opportunity to network together and share their strategies for confronting violence.

And on Friday, KOFAVIV will hold a large rally in Champs-de-Mars, the site of the city’s largest displacement camp. Together, they will speak out with one voice: sexual violence must end.

Click here to view a timeline of accomplishments of MADRE’s work with KOFAVIV in Haiti.

And click on the following link to listen to KOFAVIV’s radio spot calling women to action in their fight against sexual violence: KOFAVIV Radio Spot

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Grassroots women learn about civic participation
Grassroots women learn about civic participation

A Human Rights Training in Haiti

A woman reads during the training session
A woman reads during the training session
Grassroots women discuss civic participation
Grassroots women discuss civic participation
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Organization Information

MADRE, An International Women's Human Rights Org.

Location: New York, NY - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @madrespeaks
Project Leader:
Yifat Susskind
New York, NY United States

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