INSULT TO INJURY

REPORT: LGBTs Left To Die In Rubble Of Haiti Earthquake, Blamed And Raped Afterward

Several LGBT people were left to die in the rubble after houses and buildings collapsed, explains Reginald Dupont, a manager at SEROvie. Even those LGBT people who survived faced spontaneous blame and persecution; radio sermons, church talks, word of mouth, and general discussions in the street targeted LGBT people as “sinners” who had called the earthquake upon the country by angering God. “After [LGBT people] were taken out of the debris, they had to get out of the immediate area as soon as possible so as not to attract anger,” explains Dupont.

The scapegoating and persecution took several forms documented in the report, including physical violence against LGBT people in the camps where displaced people were living (and where half a million people continue to live), and sexual violence, including so-called “corrective rape.” Corrective rape is a phenomenon that has garnered significant media attention in South Africa, among other countries; it is a crime in which rapists attempt to justify their acts by purporting to “correct” their victims’ same-sex identities and acts.

IGLHRC and SEROvie also documented the arrest of 40 women for “woman on woman activities in tents” in one camp for displaced people, according to the first Haitian television station to air a story about the arrests. In interviews, the Port-au-Prince police commissioner explained that the women would be charged with “indecency and immorality,” perhaps because Haitian law does not specifically criminalize same-sex activity. The women were released after two days in detention, but the police commissioner signaled his intent to expand such operations to other areas.

Humanitarian activist Mark Canavera details the woes of LGBT in the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake on the Huffington Post, drawing on reports from the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission and SEROvie, a Haitian gay advocacy organization.