By Clancy Nolan
PORT-AU-PRINCE—When the earthquake struck Haiti last January, a lanky 26-year-old woman, who asked to be called Rolonda, gathered her belongings and moved with her mother, her brother and her five-year-old daughter into a field where they would be safe from the aftershocks and falling debris of the capital’s crumbling buildings. Rolonda strung up a pair of bed sheets for shelter.
It was 7 o’clock in the evening, two days later, when the gang of men passed through her camp, armed with guns. Her family watched in horror as Rolonda was dragged away, screaming. No one tried to help. They forced Rolonda into an abandoned building and tied her up. At least a dozen men raped her that night, and every day after, for four days.
“I can recognize 10 of the men who raped me,” she says. Sitting in an office at a small law firm in Port-au-Prince, Rolonda speaks at barely a whisper, her almond-shaped eyes locked on the floor. “I wasn’t the only woman in that building,” she says. “I could hear other women screaming.”
When the men finished with her, Rolonda was released. She walked through the horror show that was Port-au-Prince in the weeks following the quake. She didn’t go to the hospital. She was too ashamed. And anyway, the hospitals were crumbling wrecks. She didn’t try to find a doctor. Doctors were amputating people’s limbs in the street. She didn’t go to the police. What police?
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Clancy Nolan is a journalist based in Toronto whose work been published in Condé Nast Portfolio, the Wall Street Journal, and New York magazine.
(Photograph by Clancy Nolan)