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Appeal for provisions to prevent sexual violence during a disaster

2011-03-11 20:03:50 | 事務局より
Rape Crisis Network is -
We provide information online to survivors of sexual violence, their significant others, and those who wish to support survivors. Our basic activity is to collect information to support survivors, provide downloadable “Letter of Referral” available online for relevant organizations on the website, along with advocacy event planning and public speaking.


A 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck northeast Japan on Friday, March 11th, setting off devastating tsunamis.

We pray for the rescue and treatment of the victims as well as the return of safety and peace to lives affected in this tragedy. We also pray for the prevention of the possible collateral damages may arise from this difficult time.

Following natural disasters, there is often a sharp rise in sexual and other types of violence due to the great chaos caused by the crisis. Those who have lost their homes and who have been living in crowded shelters are especially under stress and may be vulnerable to crime. Among the people seeking refuge, children and women, elders, people with disabilities, and other minorities are the greatest risk of falling into victim to violence.

Sexual violence in humanitarian emergencies such as natural disasters is a serious, even life-threatening, public health and human rights issue.

Rape Crisis Network has decided to submit an appeal to the Japanese government.
We request that our government establish provisions that would increase the budget and the number of workers allocated to support the survivors and help them recover their strength.

Details of the appeal are described below.

★ Give your support to our appeal!!
If you support our appeal, please send e-mail to: rc-net@goo.jp
We will post your name on a list of supporters on this blog.
In your email, please include:
Your name (legal full name, preferable)
Your address (City, State, Country)
We will not provide any of your personal information to others.


Appeal for provisions to prevent sexual violence during a disaster

1. Please add rape crisis support to our public services during disaster rescue and relief.

The situation during a natural disaster causes more difficulty, fear, and hesitation for the victims of sexual violence (hereafter, survivors) to disclose the sexual violence she/he experienced at the refuge site. Lack of medical and relevant care at the site would leave survivors without the care they need.
Sexual violence can be a life-threatening issue, and the survivors require professional intervention as soon as possible.

We request the establishment of a rape crisis support system at the disaster site.
We hope our national and local government will provide the support as a part of public services.
Survivors of sexual violence need a safe place to talk about what happened and to escape from the site of the crime to avoid being victimized again. This safe place would protect them from other collateral damages, as well as provide them with medical care. If an official rape crisis support system were to be established, it would maintain medical records for the survivors. Such records will be essential for those who wish to pursue legal process in the future.

2. Provide appropriate information

Sexual violence and other types of crimes during a natural disaster occur in various degrees, and the actual number of victims is unknown. Sexual assaults tend to occur in private situations and can thus be hidden by the offender as well as by the victim, who may fear being threatened by the offender.
People must be informed about the possibility of these crimes, and we must work to create an environment that inhibits crimes. Please collect reliable information about sexual violence and make them readily accessible to victims and non-victims alike.

3. The water shortage and the provision of only a basic unisex bathroom may cause serious stress.

In these circumstances, many people cut down their liquid intake which may cause health problems.
Moreover, chaos and disorganization increase the risk of crimes, including sexual assault.

4. Both the interior and exterior of the refugee site should be well lit to avoid blind spots.

Many blind spots have been created by the damage after the disaster. Light up the entire area as much as possible, including places that may not seem to require lights. It is very important to make the environment open to public attention.

5. Providing a space for “living”

It is hard to find private space to change diapers and nurse babies under these circumstances. Going to dark areas, away from others’ sight to tend to these matters will increase the risk of sexual violence. Providing these facilities to be postponed under such circumstances, but it must be considered a high priority.

6. Financial aid should be provided for single parents and elderly who are living alone.

After the disaster, low-income people will be under financial pressure and may find difficulty securing a place to live. Moreover, non-full time employees may lose their jobs due to the disaster. The substantial support to these people is very important.

7. Encourage people to seek shelter
There are single parents who hesitate to come to the shelters because their small children can be troublesome in public. The quality of life in the shelters must be improved to encourage these people to seek shelters and aid.

8. Understanding sexual diversity

For sexual minorities like the LGBT community, being forced to live in an environment that caters to straight males and females can be stressing. Moreover, if their sexuality is unintentionally revealed to the public, unfortunately, it can become dangerous for them to remain in public. Sexual violence is not just a matter between males and females. These refugee sites urgently need specialists who are equipped with the sensibility, skill, and knowledge to work with sexual minorities.

9. Expansion of preventive education

It is human nature to disregard preventative measures before anything concrete occurs. However, neglecting to address these crimes that are difficult to speak about is unacceptable even during an emergency. Appropriate precautions must be taken immediately to create a safe environment that discourages crimes.

10. Reinforcement of protection

All people―Young and old, men and women―face the risk of being a victim of sexual violence. It should be considered a problem for everyone. However, the weak are more likely to be targeted. Children are very powerless, especially when they are apart from their parents. Do not leave children alone. It is important to take full advantage of the community in the region. In addition, please set up an official location, even if it must be modest in size, dedicated to watching and caring for children. This location may also serve as a meeting spot to keep account of every child.