Combatting Gender Based Violence in Haiti's Displacement Camps

By Hollyn Hammond

Nearly two years after the massive Haiti earthquake, half a million people remain in displacement camps that have become breeding grounds for gender-based violence (GBV). Why does this travesty persist and what is being done to stop it? The first part of this paper will present the context for gender-based violence in Haiti’s camps and discuss some of the actions taken by the international community and local groups to prevent and combat the problem. I will then analyze the 572 Call Center project which has emerged as a promising lifeline for women in the camps. In the final section of the paper, I will propose recommendations for prevention, specifically a method that targets men in the camps through sports and educational entertainment. Throughout the paper, I will argue that a multidimensional, holistic approach is the most effective way to combat the spread of GBV in Haiti’s camps. Action must take place on three levels: to prevent the violence before it occurs, to provide urgent response and support to survivors, and to seek justice for the victims. Finally, I will provide a brief addendum to my research based on a January trip I took to the camps in Port-au-Prince.

About the author:
Hollyn Hammond is working toward an M.A. in International Development with a focus on humanitarian assistance/child protection and educational development in conflict regions. She is currently a Program Intern with Refugees International. This year, Hollyn conducted field-based research on education in crises in Haiti and Senegal. After completing her bachelor's degrees from Colorado College in Art History and Elementary Education, Hollyn taught bilingual education to at-risk and marginalized youth in Colorado, Costa Rica, Honduras, and California. This summer she will work with the World Bank in South Sudan and with UNICEF in Kakuma refugee camp on the South Sudan-Kenyan border to strengthen child protection and emergency education systems.

Image courtesy of waterdotorg.

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