A year after Haiti’s devastating earthquake, women in Haiti’s still-teeming tent cities face yet another threat: sexual violence. With little protection from community or law enforcement, many have been violently raped, only to become pregnant with their attackers’ children.
Photojournalist Nadav Neuhaus traveled through Haiti’s tent cities last summer, photographing and interviewing dozens of residents in the camps that still house more than 1 million people. During a visit to Camp La Piste, home to 50,000 displaced people, Neuhaus noticed an unusually high number of pregnant women. A community organizer and a local midwife confirmed his worries: Many of the women were pregnant as a result of rape.
They came to Camp La Piste after losing parents, brothers and husbands in the earthquake, leaving them to fend for themselves in the sprawling squalor, where roving gangs of armed men terrorize residents.
In a new report, Amnesty International documents the rise in sexual violence, including at least 250 rapes reported in the first few months after the earthquake
Fueled in part by these sexual attacks, the birth rate in Haiti has tripled since the quake, climbing from 4 percent to 12 percent, according to population experts.
Most women told Neuhaus they don’t report the rapes, either out of shame or fear of repercussions. Even if they wanted to report the crimes, there’s little help in a country where police and justice systems are destroyed or distracted and where resources for the powerless are almost non-existent.