Nicole Kidman in Haiti to fight sexual violence against women

A United Nations Goodwill Ambassador, Kidman toured the Caribbean island nation to speak out about womens’ welfare issues after the January quake that killed about 250,000 people, Australia’s The Sunday Telegraph reports. “During this trip I saw first-hand how this humanitarian disaster is impacting women and girls,” the Australian actress said.

The Moulin Rouge star joined UN Development Fund for Women executive director Ines Alberdi on a visit to the temporary shelter in Port-au-Prince for women and girls who were victims or at risk of sexual violence. The shelter provided counselling as well as medical and legal aid and was an initiative that needed to be expanded, Kidman said. “This needs to be done on a large-scale and they need our support,” she said.

Previously she joined a host of celebrities in Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief, a US television special to raise money to support humanitarian aid. Other celebrities who have visited Haiti in the six months since the January 12 earthquake include Angelina Jolie, Sean Penn, Demi Moore, Susan Sarandon, Ben Stiller, Matt Damon and Shakira.

Kidman, 43, and country music singer husband Keith Urban, 42, have also donated money to build schools in the ravaged region of Port-au-Prince with the charity, Artists for Peace and Justice. In February, the pair pledged to give AU$50,000 (US$45,225) a year for five years towards the rebuilding of a school.

Even before the earthquake, Haiti was notorious for sex crime. A 2006 census found one in three women had been sexually assaulted.

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