Hear Their Stories of Survival
Posted on: Tuesday, July 2, 2013
It’s been three years since the devastating earthquake in Haiti, but what only lasted seconds has continued to reverberate for young girls there. Many were orphaned by the disaster and left to fend for themselves in the dangerous, overcrowded camps. Vulnerable, hungry and alone, many were forced into survival sex — exploited by men who give them basic necessities like shelter, food and water in exchange for sex.
But with your help, we’re breaking the cycle. MADRE and our Haitian sister organization KOFAVIV are working to meet the critical needs of these girls, including a warm meal, shelter and medical treatment. And our Saturday workshops at the KOFAVIV Center are giving them the counseling and social support they need to break free from survival sex and rebuild their lives.
At the Saturday workshops, the girls are able to build their confidence through the support networks and friendships that they form at the Center. One way they do this is through sharing their stories. This therapeutic process allows these girls to begin healing from the physical and emotional traumas they’ve endured.
Recently, KOFAVIV shared some of the stories of these courageous young girls with us**. With permission, we’re sharing them with you now. I hope you’ll read them and see how together, we can truly make a difference in the lives of these brave girls.
**The names of the girls have been changed to protect their identities.
Simone, Age 15
“I don’t have a mother, she died. My dad doesn’t take care of me. I’m living at someone’s house because I don’t have anywhere else to go. But when that person doesn’t have anything for me, I have to go ask the guys who are by my house for a little money so I can eat. They want me to sleep with them before they give it to me. Finally, I gave in. I sold my body to live. Sometimes I sleep with people so I can have a little money to eat. I came to the workshop because I see that it will be good for me. It will help me manage my life and pay for my school. The skills I am learning will help me live.”
Annette, Age 16
“I live with my aunt. She doesn’t help me at all. She just gives me a place to sleep. To be able to live, I have to sleep with a lot of different people. Sometimes, if I don’t want to, they’ve pointed weapons at me. Sometimes they don’t give me anything afterwards. Or, they give me 50 gourdes, which I can’t buy anything with. I don’t go to school. I’m embarrassed because I don’t even know how to write my name. I come to KOFAVIV because I want my life to change.”
Patricia, Age 14
“I am living by myself in a camp. A married man reached out to me. I don’t have a choice so I’m forced to have sex with men. I go sleep with people to find a way to eat. Sometimes I can make 200 Haitian dollars in a day [$23USD]. But sometimes, I don’t make any money. There are some people who make promises, saying that they will give me the money, then I sleep with them and they don’t give it to me. What pushed me to come to this workshop is that I saw that it will be very useful to me. It will help me be autonomous, and be independent, so I can get out of this life, out of this situation.”
Johanne, Age 13
“I am living with my older sister. She’s 15. Our parents died in the earthquake. Sometimes, I will do people’s laundry to make money. Other times, I will sleep with guys so that I can feed myself. I am proud to come to the workshops. It will be so good for me. I’m going to learn and practice these skills and I will be able to provide for myself and my sister.”
Archives"Press Room" Home October 2014 September 2014 August 2014 July 2014 June 2014 May 2014 April 2014 March 2014 February 2014 January 2014 December 2013 November 2013 October 2013 September 2013 August 2013 July 2013 June 2013 May 2013 April 2013 March 2013 February 2013 January 2013 December 2012 November 2012 October 2012 September 2012 August 2012 July 2012 June 2012 May 2012 April 2012 March 2012 February 2012 January 2012 December 2011 November 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 July 2011 June 2011 May 2011 April 2011 March 2011 February 2011 January 2011 December 2010 November 2010 October 2010 September 2010 August 2010 July 2010 June 2010 May 2010 April 2010 March 2010 February 2010 January 2010 December 2009 November 2009 October 2009 September 2009 August 2009 July 2009 June 2009 May 2009 April 2009 March 2009 February 2009 January 2009 December 2008 November 2008 October 2008 September 2008 August 2008 July 2008 June 2008 May 2008 April 2008 March 2008 February 2008 January 2008 December 2007 November 2007 October 2007 September 2007 August 2007 June 2007 May 2007 April 2007 March 2007 February 2007 January 2007 December 2006 November 2006 October 2006 September 2006 July 2006 June 2006 April 2006 March 2006 January 2006 December 2005 November 2005 September 2005 August 2005 July 2005 April 2005 March 2005 November 2004 October 2004 April 2004 March 2004 January 2004 December 2003 October 2003 September 2003 June 2003 April 2003 January 2003 September 2002 June 2002 January 2002 November 2001 October 2001 September 2001 August 2001 January 2001
MADRE & Our Partners Make News
Forbidden Talk - Prostitution in the Middle East (Levant TV, October 7, 2014)
Women's Organizations Fighting Against Gender-Based Violence in Iraq (Girls' Globe, October 1, 2014)
We all know about jihadists, but what about those waging an 'anti-jihad'? (Reuter, October 1, 2014)
Breaking the gridlock of climate change negotiations: learning from allies (openDemocracy, September 29, 2014)
Arab and Jewish midwives find a common language (Haaretz, September 12, 2014)