|photo of activists, including Elvire Eugene (second from left), is from here|
Many women like Elvire Eugene fight back. Here is an exceprt of a news story about the work of Elvine and other women in Haiti (source: vday.org, *here*)
Lawyers and women's activists representing 30 grassroots organizations from across Haiti came together to discuss what needed to be done to address gender-based-violence in post-earthquake Haiti.
The meeting was coordinated by longtime V-Day activist Elvire Eugene, who is connected to many local partners and national networks working on women's issues in Haiti and is well suited to lead critical work on the ground. Judie C. Roy, a former presidential candidate and prominent activist, was also in attendance, as well as members of the Women's Ministry. During the meeting, a Task Force was formed to see the group's work through to completion. Members chose Elvire Eugene, Judie C. Roy and activist Marie Gislhene Mompremier to lead the Task Force.
Here are some links to other stories about activist women in Haiti.
From the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti:
“Haitian Peasant Women as Poto Mitan, Central Pillar”: An interview with Iderle Brénus Gerbier (Other Words)
20 December 2011 Comments: 0By Alexis Erkert, Other Words
The Haitian society is essentially macho, and the Haitian politicians and international interests oppress Haiti’s own children. Farmers become victims again and again and women are always held back. But these women continue to support their country.
Our goal is to achieve respect for the rights of Haitian women. Despite their position as poto mitan, as the main carriers of the national economy, rural Haitian women always suffer in our society. Most of these women have no direct access to agricultural lands and income is strictly controlled by men, despite their role in agriculture.
Two Years Later, Where Is The Outrage? (Lethaitilive.org) — January 3, 2012
And finally, for now, From MADRE's website (please click on the title just below for more):
Posted on: Thursday, January 12, 2012Keywords: Haiti, Latin American and Caribbean, Combating Violence Against Women, Human Rights AvocacyFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
CONTACT: Stephanie Küng, MADRE, email@example.com;
Blaine Bookey, Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Margaret Satterthwaite, NYU Global Justice Clinic, email@example.com
Haitian Women and Girls Trading Sex to Survive
Groups Release Report Analyzing Sexual Exploitation
January 12, 2012—New York, NY—Two years after an earthquake devastated Haiti, a report detailing the impact of sexual exploitation on displaced Haitian women and girls has been released. The report is authored by MADRE, the Commission of Women Victims for Victims (KOFAVIV), the International Women’s Human Rights (IWHR) Clinic at the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law, the Global Justice Clinic at NYU School of Law (GJC) and the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies at UC Hastings College of the Law (CGRS).
The drastic increase in sexual violence in displacement camps has been well documented since the disaster. But another face of the epidemic has emerged as a pressing issue: the sexual exploitation of displaced women and girls.
Displaced women and girls have lost family and community members, along with the protection and safety nets those relationships offered. Because of poverty and a lack of economic opportunity, many women and girls are forced to trade sex for shelter, money or even a single meal. In many cases, those demanding sex are the very people who hold themselves out as representatives of the people—members of camp committees.
The report was compiled based on interviews with Haitian women and girls who have either engaged in transactional sex or who know people who have. Information was also collected through interviews with Haitian government officials, service providers and women’s rights advocates. The report highlights current barriers to addressing sexual exploitation and offers recommendations to protect the human rights of women and girls engaging in transactional sex. In addition, the report offers a unique legal analysis of the protections available for women and girls who have experienced a wide range of human rights violations associated with sexual exchanges.
Marie Eramithe Delva, co-founder of KOFAVIV said today, “Displaced women and girls are being forced by circumstance into survival sex. It is an epidemic, but one that has gotten little attention from the Haitian government or international community.”
Lisa Davis, MADRE Human Rights Advocacy Director and Clinical Professor of Law for the IWHR Clinic at CUNY Law School said today, “International law recognizes that an individual’s decision to engage in sex should be the result of free choice. The majority of women and girls interviewed do not have a choice. They are displaced and with few other options. In turn, they are at increased risk of sexual violence and health threats. We must shed light on this crisis.”
Blaine Bookey, Staff Attorney for the CGRS said today, “Although almost all individuals interviewed for this report recognized that sexual exploitation is widespread, representatives of government agencies responsible for addressing sexual exploitation hold stereotypes related to gender and poverty that present an obstacle to implementing practical solutions. Beyond this, the Haitian government’s inability to develop a meaningful response to sexual exploitation is also due to a stark lack of resources. I am hopeful the report will help breakdown these harmful stereotypes and bring much needed resources to bear.”
Margaret Satterthwaite, Professor of Clinical Law for the GJC and Faculty Director of the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at NYU School of Law said today, “Survival sex will not end until Haitian women and girls can access what they need to live. Haitian women want economic opportunities and the capacity to access basic resources. The international community should work closely with the Haitian government to create jobs, extend microcredit to women, and provide free education to all.”
Virtual Briefing: Join the authors of this report on Tuesday January 17 at 1 pm EST, for a conference call. RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org for call-in information.
To read the report in full, click here.