Special Collection: Supporting the Women of Haiti
This International Women’s Day, we remember the victims and survivors of the catastrophic earthquake that hit Haiti on January 12, 2010 and recall attention to the serious impact of natural disaster on women and their children. It is worth noting that among the countless brothers and sisters who lost their lives to the earthquake were several leaders of the Haitian women’s movement such Myriam Merlet, Magalie Marcelin and Anne Marie Coriolan*, founders of three of the country’s most important women’s organizations (Enfofamn, Kay Fanm, and Solidarite Fanm Ayisyen, respectively).
As it has been learned from previous disasters, the chaos and social instability that follows a natural catastrophe increases women’s vulnerability to violence. In Haiti, in particular, the “current state of violence against women and public insecurity in general is expected to worsen given the compromised capacity of the Haitian government to govern and enforce the rule of law and the potential for more human rights violations that generally follow in the wake of major disasters” (MADRE, 2010).
Months after the devastating earthquake, the need for life-saving services for Haitian women and their families remains critical. The resources provided below offer information about the impact of natural disasters on women and their children as well as guidance for preventing and responding to sexual and domestic violence during and after a natural disaster. This collection also provides a listing of organizations/initiatives that are supporting relief efforts in Haiti, especially those focused on delivering aid to women and responding to those at higher risk for sexual and/or domestic violence. Additional information about how we can all help provide relief to Haiti's earthquake victims is also enclosed.
Comments and content suggestions for this special collection are welcome via VAWnet’s Online Contact Form.
* See Women's movement mourns death of 3 Haitian leaders (January 25, 2010) from CNN.com.
Table of Contents:
Resources on Disaster Response/Rebuilding After Disaster | Back to top
Resources included in this section provide information on the impact of natural disasters on women and their children as well as guidance for preventing and responding to sexual and domestic violence during and after a natural disaster.
- Caught in the Storm: The Impact of Natural Disasters | PDF (8 p.)
by Lin Chew & Kavita N. Ramdas, The Global Fund for Women (December 2005)
This report explores the disproportionate vulnerability of women in disaster situations.
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- Sexual Violence in Disasters: A planning guide for prevention and response | PDF (69 p.)
by Alisa Klein, Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault (LaFASA), & National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) (June 2008)
This publication offers readers important information about sexual violence and disasters that will help communities to understand the connection and develop better disaster responses. Includes a 2-page fact sheet based on the material in the guide.
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- WHO Ethical and Safety Recommendations for Researching, Documenting and Monitoring Sexual Violence in Emergencies | PDF (42 p.)
by World Health Organization (July 2007)
This document follows on a 2006 expert consultation on ethical, safety and methodological issues in researching, monitoring and documenting sexual violence in emergencies.
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- For Mental Health and Human Services Workers in Major Disasters | HTML (2 p.)
by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), National Mental Health Information Center
This article provides tips for counseling survivors of natural disasters, including strategies for problem-solving.
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- After a Disaster: Helping Young Children Heal | PDF (1 p.)
by Chandra Ghosh Ippen, Alicia F. Lieberman & Patricia Van Horn, National Child Traumatic Stress Network, Zero to Three (2005)
This handout describes the impact of disasters on babies, young children, toddlers, and preschoolers, offering many useful tips for helping to promote healing and resiliency.
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- International Adoption and Haiti: After the Earthquake | HTML (1 p.)
by InterAction (January 2010)
The media attention in Haiti has also brought increased awareness to the plight of children who have become unaccompanied or orphaned as a result of the devastating earthquake on January 12, 2010.
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Domestic Violence Materials in Haitian Creole | Back to top
This section includes materials in Haitian Creole that are designed to be useful for victims and survivors of domestic violence. Materials include information on signs of abuse, myths and facts about domestic violence, and available resources for victims and survivors. English translations are provided wherever possible.
- Bat Fanm: Sispann vyolans-la / Wife Assault: Let's Break the Silence | HTML (5 p.)
by Hot Peach Pages
This pamphlet, distributed by Education WifeAssault, is reproduced here with the permission of the Ontario Women's Directorate.
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- Kisa K Vyolans Domestik / The Domestic Violence Handbook | PDF (25 p.)
by Dwa Fanm
This handbook describes some of the ways in which immigrant women are abused, lists signs to look for in a battering personality, and lists several myths and facts about domestic violence.
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Supporting Relief Efforts in Haiti | Back to top
VAWnet provides the listings below as sources of information that readers can evaluate on their own terms for their own needs, and inclusion on this collection does not constitute an endorsement by the NRCDV.
Women’s Advocacy Organizations
This list features women’s advocacy organizations and initiatives that are supporting relief efforts in Haiti, especially those focused on delivering aid to women and responding to those at high risk for sexual and/or domestic violence.
Say NO – UNiTE: End Violence against Women
"In the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Haiti, UNIFEM is working to raise 2 million USD to provide urgently needed services for the protection of women and their families. In particular, UNIFEM seeks to rebuild women's shelters and expand the provision of emergency services for women. We are counting on each and every one of you to help us prevent violence against women and girls in disaster-stricken Haiti. Won't you help?"
V-Day's Haiti Rescue Fund
"V-Day is initiating a Haiti Rescue Fund immediately to be ready with funds for the V-Day Haiti Sorority Safe House in Port Au Prince, that provides shelter to women survivors of violence and their children, as well as psychological, legal and medical support. We urge you to support this effort, we cannot forget the women and girls of Haiti who already suffer some of the worst poverty in the world and the most violent conditions for women."
"Women are finding it a extremely difficult to find their footing and re-group as they handle the immediate crisis and deliver emergency aid to women and children in Haiti and with little structure and means of communication in place, it has become almost impossible to respond as the incidences of violence increase in the emergency camps. (…) Dwa Fanm means 'Women's Rights' in Haitian Creole. Dwa Fanm is committed to empowering every woman and girl with the freedom to define and control their own lives. Through advocacy and grassroots programs, Dwa Fanm works to end all forms of violence, discrimination and injustice in the U.S. and in Haiti."
"MADRE is an international women's human rights organization that works in partnership with community-based women's organizations worldwide to address issues of health and reproductive rights, economic development, education and other human rights. We provide resources and training to enable our sister organizations to meet these goals by addressing immediate needs in their communities and developing long-term solutions to the crises they face.
"The worst earthquake in 200 years struck Haiti on January 12, causing catastrophic destruction in the hemisphere's poorest country. MADRE is working with our partner in Haiti, Zanmi Lasante, to bring humanitarian aid overland into the country."
Haitian Women for Haitian Refugees
Haitian Women for Haitian Refugees, Lakou New York, and MUDHA Movement of Dominican Haitian Women are organizing an immediate delivery of first aid relief. MUDHA is traveling to the Dominican/Haitian border, looking at how to reach affected areas. To make a financial tax-deductible donation to Haitian Women for Haitian Refugees, Lakou New York, and MUDHA Movement of Dominican Haitian Women, so that they may take supplies to Haiti, please mail donations to:
418 West 145th Street
New York NY 10031
Fanm Ayisyen Nan Miyami, Inc. (FANM)/Haitian Women of Miami
"Fanm Ayisyen Miyami, Inc. (FANM) / Haitian Women of Miami was founded in 1991, to work for the 'social and political empowerment' of Haitian women and their families. The Haiti Relief Task Force composed of over 15 local and national organizations has been revived to bring desperate relief to millions of our brothers and sisters who are suffering at this time. Marleine Bastien, Executive Director of Fanm Ayisyen Nan Miyami, Inc./Haitian Women of Miami said: 'It is heartwrenching to see so many men, women, and little babies lying on the streets with broken limbs, screaming and yet, no help is coming. These are God's children, they need our support now. It is a matter of life or death!'" To volunteer or donate, contact:
Haiti Relief Fund
c/o Eustache Fleurant
Bank of America
9499 N.E. 2nd Avenue Miami, Florida 33138
General Relief Efforts
Although this collection aims to primarily highlight organizations and initiatives that are focused on delivering aid to women and responding to those at high risk for sexual and/or domestic violence, there are numerous charitable organizations in the U.S. currently supporting broader relief efforts in Haiti. Because several listings have already been compiled by other organizations and websites, this collection directs the reader to an existing fairly comprehensive listing.
InterAction maintains a comprehensive list of organizations in the U.S. that are responding to the Earthquake in Haiti and accepting donations at: http://www.interaction.org/crisis-list/earthquake-haiti.
How Can We All Help? | Back to top
This section offers recommendations on the most helpful ways any of us can become involved in supporting relief efforts in Haiti.
- Donate Money: The most effective and efficient way to provide relief to Haiti's earthquake victims is by donating money to organizations responding to the disaster. Make sure that you thoroughly research the organization to which you intend to donate.
- Volunteer: A coordinated international community response is crucial in the aftermath of a major disaster. Volunteers with technical skills (doctors, nurses, engineers, etc.) or previous disaster or international experience are much needed. All offers of assistance to the earthquake situation in Haiti, be they technical assistance or commodity, MUST be registered with the Center for International Disaster Information (CIDI) database: http://www.cidi.org.
- Donate Frequent Flyer Miles: You also have the option to donate frequent flyer miles to charities involved in Haiti relief efforts; these organizations use your donated miles to fly aid workers to affected areas (for example, Charity Miles Program).
- Donate Material: Material donations of new or used items are also helpful. You can donate to a local charitable organization within your community or sell collected items in a charity auction/yard sale and donate the proceeds to the disaster relief organization.
For additional information, see Guidelines for Appropriate International Disaster Donations from the Center for International Disaster Information or How to Help from InterAction.