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This Article examines women’s and girls’ struggles in the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake. In particular, it focuses on the grievous conditions in the displacement camps that foster gender-based violence and abuse, often perpetrated by members of armed groups or prison escapees. Indeed, the lack of lighting, private sanitary facilities, secure shelters, and police patrols in the encampment areas endanger women’s and girls’ safety. The devastation and traumatic loss of family and community members following the earthquake further affect women’s resilience and increase their vulnerability to abuse and sexual violence. By examining the conditions and risks faced by women and girls in the displacement camps, this Article aims to identify preventive measures and effective responses that international law and humanitarian aid should adopt to protect displaced women and girls and address gender-based violence.

Part I depicts the devastation caused by the 2010 Haitian earthquake as well as the international aid and relief efforts deployed by foreign states and international organizations. Part II presents accounts of women and girls living in the displacement camps who have been victims of sexual violence. This Part documents some of their stories and reports their daily struggles. Part III examines both the international and domestic legal framework to protect women and girls from violence in post-disaster settings. Finally, Part IV suggests practical measures that should be implemented to provide adequate services, protection, and judicial redress to rape victims in the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake.


This article was first published in the Emory International Law Review and is also available online at: