Today, Congresswoman Frederica Wilson (D-FL) led 15 fellow Members of Congress in introducing a resolution calling for specific actions to stop the emergency of gender-based violence in Haiti. After the January 2010 earthquake -- which claimed up to 220,000 lives -- Haiti experienced a striking increase in the incidence of gender-based violence. According to a recent study, 14 percent of earthquake-affected households reported at least one member being victimized by sexual violence since 2010. Congresswoman Wilson offered the following statement:
"Gender-based violence is an emergency in Haiti today. But, thankfully, through smart policy and the strength and courage of Haitian women, it's a situation that's within our power to change.
With its "Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-Based Violence," the Obama administration is on the right track. Congress and the administration must ensure robust funding for these initiatives, including the U.S. Agency for International Development's Gender Equality and Female Empowerment Policy, to meet the continuing need.
For me, this issue is personal. I have seen the tent cities firsthand. I have spoken to the women. I have counseled the victims and witnessed the scars of indignation and pain. I feel the anguish in my bones. But I also feel the hope.
Let's work together to ensure that no woman in Haiti, no woman in this hemisphere or in this world, has to bear the indignity of sexual violence."