Unfortunately, the threat of sexual violence is all too common for women and girls who are in vulnerable living conditions, whether they’re in Haitian camps for displaced earthquake victims or in U.S. homeless shelters. In many cases, access to more a stable and private living situation goes a long way toward providing a measure of safety to such women. Click here to find out how you can help Haiti so that stability can be achieved sooner. To learn more about rape and sexual assault, click here. – NewsOne Staff
Port-au-Prince, Haiti — Carine Exantus should be sitting in her college communications class. Instead, the 22-year-old is teaching herself how to avoid being attacked by the men who live in her new neighborhood — a maze of makeshift shelters spaced so close together that it is hard to get between them but easy to get inside.
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“I, like everybody else, live in a very precarious situation,” said Exantus, who was forced to make her own shelter when her home was crushed in Haiti’s January 12 earthquake.
“As a young woman,” Exantus said, “I am afraid because I notice a lot of young men being aggressive toward women at night.”
In her camp, there has already been trouble. The camp leaders told CNN that two cases of attempted rape have been reported in the past few days and one suspect has been arrested.
“When the guys don’t have no money, their brain is not good,” said camp leader Jean Joseph Rudler. “When they have no work or food and just sit around, it is bad. When a guy is drunk, he will do anything [to a woman].”
Women can be easily preyed upon when their four walls consist only of bed sheets or thin tents. But camp conditions, a government official said, isn’t the underlying problem in Haiti when it comes to violence against women.