'An homage to resilience': Portraits of Haiti's rape survivors
Updated 7:48 AM ET, Mon January 22, 2018
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Editor's Note: CNN is committed to covering gender inequality wherever it occurs in the world. This story is part of As Equals, a year-long series.
In 2010, a massive earthquake struck Haiti killing hundreds of thousands of people. It left thousands more Haitians displaced from their homes.
In the months and years that followed another crisis unfolded. Reports emerged that women and children living in the sprawling displacement camps or "tent cities" were being raped and sexually assaulted.
Photojournalist Benedicte Kurzen interviewed and photographed several survivors of rape in 2016, capturing a series of portraits she described as "more an homage to their resilience than about rape itself."
Kurzen says her portraits have helped each woman reframe herself and her story.
"In general when we speak about rape I usually have this feeling that we as media have a tendency to portray women as rape survivors and that's all they are," Kurzen said. "We put them in a box and reinforce some kind of stigma. We don't explore their imagination."
Below, Kurzen shares her thoughts on the portrait series, as well as excerpts from her interviews with survivors. Their names have been changed to protect their identities.
"This work is the result of a collaboration with MSF (the nonprofit group Médecins Sans Frontières, also known as Doctors Without Borders). They identified women and young girls who had been raped a year ago. It wasn't fresh. It was important not to victimize them a second time."
"Every photograph was taken after a very long interview. I spent a really long time explaining to them what it was about and why we wanted to do this."
"We talked about how they wanted to be pictured. It was very collaborative. All the pictures are inspired by elements of their story that they shared with me or by their own desire."
Gisele, 20: "He took me to an isolated place and asked me to get naked. He touched me and raped me."
"I told my family what happened. I want justice to be done."