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Sexual Assault During Hurricane Katrina 2005


Charmaine Neville Public Service Announcement

40 Rapes Reported In Hurricane Katrina, Rita Aftermath


"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."


Network Difficulties

"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.)"


More Stories Emerge of Rapes in Post-Katrina Chaos


"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."


Clearinghouse of Hurricane-Related Research on Women and Gender & NCCROW's Hurricane-Related Projects



United States: additional reports of rape after hurricane Katrina. Off Our Backs, Nov/Dec2005, Vol. 35 Issue 11/12, p12-12

"The article reports on rape cases after the Hurricane Katrina disaster in the U.S. Two nonprofit organizations compiled their own statistics after facing inaction from police. The Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault reported 42 cases of rape and sexual abuse on women while Witness Justice has received an additional of 156 reports on the same cases."


Were Women Raped in New Orleans? Addressing the Human Rights of Women in Times of Crisis

comments by author


"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."


More Rapes Confirmed In Katrina Aftermath


"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."


Deluged. When Katrina hit, where were the police?


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.)"


Hurricane Katrina - Week 2

"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."


Sex-Assault Outreach Intensifies in Hurricane Zone

"Last September, jazz singer Charmaine Neville
came forward with a story about being raped on the roof of a school in New Orleans.
In the six months since Hurricane Katrina hit, the daughter of rock-and-soul star Charles Neville
has become a sort of accidental spokesperson for a cause to encourage more sex-assault
survivors to come forward about what happened to them during and after the storm. Now she’s
about to bring her call to action to a much larger audience....advertisement could encourage more victims to come forward with their stories and get
help from professionals in the areas of service providers, law enforcement and medicine. Those
professionals, she hopes, will in turn report the incidents on a new online sexual-assault
The database has so far received reports of 45 incidents of sexual assault in the wake of the
hurricane, all of which have been independently verified.
Launched in October, it was created by a coalition of groups that found the hurricane left them
unprepared to identify people who might be suffering from sex assault and respond effectively
after the hurricane hit, said Cathy Nardo, an information specialist at the National Sexual
Violence Resource Center in Enola, PA."



Hurricane Katrina press releases from the National Center for domestic violence



Katrina Rapes Counted; U.S. Cuts Social Programs



Rape-Reporting Procedure Missing After Hurricane



Health Workers Fly to Aid Female Katrina Survivors



Rapes in New Orleans Chaos Were Avoidable



Were Women Raped in New Orleans? Addressing the Human Rights of Women in Times of Crisis



Gender-based violence in disaster



Storm Digest blog

"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).


Two booked in hotel rape of girl, 12

"Deputies says the girl and her family, displaced because of the Hurricane Katrina, had been at the hotel for a few months."


6 months after Katrina, 2,000 still on list of missing

"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

After the Deluge- photographs of Katrina and survivors


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.
Series: The Plenum series on stress and coping

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