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October: All About Haiti

(Cross-posted from MADRE's blog)

This month at MADRE, we saw some major developments in our efforts in Haiti.

The first was a huge step in our campaign to make the sprawling tent encampments of Port-au-Prince safer for women and families who have been subsisting there all year. In response to the terribly high rates of rape and sexual violence being committed in the camps, MADRE filed a petition to the InterAmerican Commission on Human Rights. We called on the Commission to enact emerency measures to help prevent rape--namely, lighting and security in the camps. This is a top demand of our sisters in Haiti, and we are doing all we can to make sure that these basic safety provisions are put in place. (Click here to view the press release and read the petition.)

In the meantime, through MADRE's Helping Hands campaign, we sent another shipment of whistles to help our sisters protect themselves against rape. The sound of the whistle deters rapists and alerts others when a woman needs help. Click here to view a video of Haitian women discussing the whistles as a simple, but powerful tool in their fight against rape. 

Even before we had a chance to file our legal petition for emergency measures to prevent rape, another emergency struck: cholera. We wrote to you as soon as we heard that our partners at KOFAVIV were identifiying cases, bringing sick people for treatment and working double-time to educate women and families in the camps about how to contain the potentially deadly outbreak.

Thanks to MADRE members, we were able to respond to yet another crisis in Haiti this month and still move forward on our longer-term campaign of combating sexual violence in the camps