Sexual Assault During Hurricane Katrina 2005
"NEW ORLEANS -- Despite widespread efforts to downplay reports of an outbreak of heinous crimes in the chaos after the storm, there’s new information about what really happened.
WDSU Newschannel 6 Reporter Alec Gifford has uncovered 40 reported cases of rape.
One high-profile victim has gone public to urge others to come forward
“Hi. My name is Charmaine Neville. I was in New Orleans at a school after Hurricane Katrina and I was raped. I know many more women were raped and are afraid to talk about it,” Neville said in a public service announcement."
"The number of domestic-violence issues is disproportionate to the reduced New Orleans population, forcing creative reorganization and operational approaches to saving battered women...Organizations serving victims of sexual assault and domestic violence are reporting a disturbing uptick in the per capita frequency and the severity of attacks in post-K New Orleans. With a social service infrastructure that's as frayed as anything else in New Orleans these days, reaching and serving victims of some of society's worst crimes is a daunting challenge.
Statistics, either gathered anecdotally by crisis workers or in studies like those collected by the National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, indicate across the board that violence against vulnerable populations increases after a major stressor like a natural disaster. (The National Center for PTSD's Web site shows counted incidents of partner abuse reported to the police increasing 14 percent after the 1993 Midwestern floods and 46 percent after the volcanic eruption of Mount St. Helens. The site also noted similar increases following Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City.)"
"Some bad things happened, you know. There was nobody there to protect you," Lewis says.
Recalling her attack, she sobs, "They just left us to die. Nobody cared."
"The reality is that while the extent of the problem is not yet known, it is clear that rapes did in fact take place. And as Sheila Dauer of Amnesty International recently told Women's Enews, this is unacceptable because relief organizations have an obligation to protect vulnerable populations from violence and abuse. Placing evacuees in large shelters like the Superdome without a significant law enforcement presence as well as lack of food and water and adequate sanitation clearly contributed to the violation of the human rights of those who sought shelter there; particularly those who were most vulnerable."
"First they said that there were widespread rapes of women, girls and even babies, as well as looting, murder and mayhem in the SuperDome, the Convention Center, and elsewhere in New Orleans.
Then they said that nothing of the kind happened, that there were only a few or no rapes.
The truth has been a long time in coming. But rapes did occur in New Orleans during the civil breakdown after the levee flooding of the city."
Issue of 2006-01-09
"“Looting is out of control. The French Quarter has been attacked.” Police Superintendent Compass tearfully declared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” that “little babies” were being raped in the Superdome and told a reporter that people had tried to kidnap him. “In hindsight,” Compass told me later, “I should have kept my mouth shut.”...
If we stay, how long will it be before the power and the water come back on and the grocery stores open? If we go, go where? To the Superdome, where babies are being raped and murdered? To the Convention Center, to get on a bus? A bus to where? (The rumor that evacuees weren’t being told their destination before boarding buses turned out to be true.)"
"Law and order all but broke down in New Orleans over the previous few days. Storm refugees reported being raped, shot and robbed, gangs of teenagers hijacked boats meant to rescue them, and frustrated hurricane victims menaced outmanned law officers."
"A National Guardsman told a reporter that “we found a young girl raped and killed in the bathroom” at the Superdome. “Then the crowd got the man and they beat him to death.” *The site author personally knows witnesses to this event (medical personel).
"Deputies says the girl and her family, displaced because of the Hurricane Katrina, had been at the hotel for a few months."
"NEW ORLEANS - Six months after Hurricane Katrina slammed into southern Louisiana, state officials are still trying to clear more than 2,000 names from their list of people reported missing after the storm, while coroners are searching for DNA samples to identify the last 95 anonymous victims left in a special Katrina morgue that will shut down next week...Searchers are planning to conduct one final sweep this month for still-undiscovered victims in the devastated Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans." Fri, Feb. 17, 2006
Photographs and audio from survivors from Time Magazine
Arieh Y. Shalev, Rachel Yehuda
and Alexander C. McFarlane. (2000) International handbook of human response
to trauma. New York ; London : Kluwer Academic/Plenum Press,. 477.
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