World

Survivors of Haiti's rape crisis

Published 9:50 PM ET, Thu December 8, 2016
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Photojournalist Benedicte Kurzen traveled to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to document the largely unseen crisis of sexual assault in the country. Gisele, 20, was one of the victims who recounted her experience. "He took me to an isolated place and asked me to get naked. He touched me and raped me," Gisele said. "I told my family what happened. Now he is hiding, and he is under the protection of a woman judge. I want justice to be done." The survivors names have been changed for their protection. Benedicte Kurzen / NOOR
Kurzen's project was done in collaboration with the nonprofit group Médecins Sans Frontières, also known as Doctors Without Borders. MSF runs the Pran Men'm clinic in Port-au-Prince, which provides emergency medical assistance in the critical 72 hours after an assault, as well as long-term medical and psychological care. Benedicte Kurzen / NOOR
Stephanie, 52: "I had a boyfriend but we were separated. He had a lot of other girlfriends and also children. I even look after one of his boys and also one of his daughters now. She is like my own. One night, he came to my place and we fought. He threw me on the floor and raped me so brutally that I started to bleed. My daughters and children don't know what happened. I did not tell them anything." Benedicte Kurzen / NOOR
According to the MSF's 2015 International Activity Report, more than a third of the clinic's 258 patients were under 18 years old. Benedicte Kurzen / NOOR
Marie, 21: "I met this guy on the street. We started to chat. After a while I told him I was looking for a job. He immediately said that one of his friends was precisely looking for someone like me. He said that he needed to go to his place to pick up some documents. When we got there he pulled out his gun. This is when it happened." Benedicte Kurzen / NOOR
Advertising for a beauty salon in the streets of Croix-des-Bouquets. Benedicte Kurzen / NOOR
The 2010 earthquake displaced 1.5 million people who were forced to move into post-quake camps that offer little safety. As of March 2015, more than 60,000 people still live in these camps. These precarious living conditions and lack of protections leave women and children especially vulnerable to sexual assault. Benedicte Kurzen / NOOR
Viviane, 22: "My best friend found the MSF clinic on the social network. I came straightaway. The boy was a friend from school. He took me to his home to give me one of his books. I kept asking if his dad was there. He said yes. When I arrived the house was empty. He took me to his room and forced me." Benedicte Kurzen / NOOR
Kurzen spent three weeks in Port-au-Prince getting to know her subjects. "Every photograph was taken after a very long interview," she said. Benedicte Kurzen / NOOR
Kurzen paid careful attention to detail in order to keep the women and girls she was photographing comfortable. Benedicte Kurzen / NOOR
Jeanne, 31: "I was in my house and late at night, two men showed up. They raped my daughter and me. ... They hit my head a lot, as I wanted them to rape me but not my daughter. Ever since I have epilepsy. The Great Creator spared my life. ... I have to run away and take refuge here as my attackers are still around. They took everything." Benedicte Kurzen / NOOR
There is a heavy stigma for women who have been raped in Haiti, Kurzen said, and resources are scarce. Benedicte Kurzen / NOOR
Sarah, 13. Her mother told Kurzen: "He is someone we knew. He lived in the same area as us in the camp. Now he is nowhere to be found. Our tent was broken and had a big hole in it. He came through it. He rape Sarah. She was on her own. Sarah wants to dance; she loves it but I don't want her to. I feel she is too visible when she dances. Now she stays most of the time with my nieces." Benedicte Kurzen / NOOR