Target: Michel Martelly, President of Haiti
Goal: Seek justice for victims of rape
A gross culture of rape and violence has pervaded the nation of Haiti, and in the years after the devastating earthquake, victims of rape are still struggling to find their voice. In many cases, rape is seen as a consequence of the victim’s own actions. For example, after one young woman was brutally beaten and raped, the response of the police officer who examined her was, “What did you do to make him violate you?”
Such is the general attitude towards victims of rape—they are the victim, they are responsible. And it seems the problem is only getting worse. In 2006, a report showed that upwards of 35,000 women and girls were sexually assaulted in Port-au-Prince in one year alone. In tent cities, which were set up in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, residents are 20 times more likely to report a sexual assault.
But despite the presence of police and women’s rights organizations, perpetrators are rarely (if ever) brought to justice. All it takes is a little money, and police will bend to the demands of those responsible. It has become such a problem that when victims do seek justice and medical attention the struggle is enough to turn them away completely and force them to give up in shame. “It happens all the time,” explained a staff member of one women’s rights group, “we get dozens of cases each month, and out of those sometimes not even one woman will put herself through this process.”
Victims of rape should not be silenced and criminals must be brought to justice. To urge the Haitian government to fix this broken system, please sign the petition below.
Dear President Martelly,
For many victims of rape in Haiti, the agony does not end when the attack does. Victims who seek justice, medical attention, and emotional help are too often left with nothing but the blame. In most cases, aid in any form is rare to come by. A broken system has allowed criminals to control their fates and victims are held accountable and left to pick the pieces.
This should not be the case. When victims of brutal rapes are treated as inferior to their attackers, the system is broken. Too many young girls and women in Haiti are raped and too little are given a voice. For the sake of those that are silenced, I urge you to seek justice and hold criminals responsible. The government of Haiti must work on behalf of these victims.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: U.S. Department of State Official Blog