Alex renton reports from Haiti on women who love in daily fear of sexual abuse | Woman | The Observer
One of these, a small passenger plane, crashed into the slum in September, the day we arrived. No one died, but it was front-page news in Haiti's daily papers. They told how, within an hour of the crash, everything had been stripped from the plane: the luggage, copper wiring, the fuel from the tanks, the passengers' seats, 'despite the blood still fresh upon them'.
I thought about this a few days later, after some time spent wandering around the slums talking to people who live in them, and to some of the Haitians who try to help them. We were there to find out what, in a place whose incessant violence has meant years of neglect by government and the aid agencies, can be done to tackle a scary Aids rate, coupled with a mind-boggling ignorance about the basics of sexual health. That meant talking about sex in Haiti, and that, we soon discovered, meant talking about rape - and why rape is so horrifyingly common.
According to the United Nations' collation of research, almost half of all the girls in Cit� Soleil and the country's other 'conflict-zone' slums have been raped or subjected to other sexual violence. These figures compare with those that emerge from the wars in Congo and Darfur - but this is not a country at war. Haiti is the poorest nation in the Americas, but it has a functioning democratic government, courts, police and a free press, all assisted by a three-year-old United Nations stabilisation mission that has been widely hailed as a success.