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Behind the story: Photojournalist investigates increase in rape in post-quake Haiti

Photojournalist Nadav Neuhaus arrived on the scene 20 hours after the deadly Haiti earthquake struck on Jan. 12, 2010. In the hours and the days that followed, he photographed horrific destruction, injury and loss of life. He’s often asked what picture from the experience stands out in his mind. He says it’s not a picture but rather the disturbing sounds -- of people trapped under the rubble, calling for help that he couldn’t provide. And the moaning of injured Haitians lined up outside his hotel where a makeshift clinic was operating.

Nadav returned to Haiti throughout the year to cover the aftermath of the quake. During one visit last summer to Camp La Piste, home to 50,000 displaced people, he noticed an unusually high number of pregnant women. He spoke with women throughout the camp to try to find out why, but they were resistant to talk about it. Finally, a community organizer and a local midwife confirmed his worries: Many of the women were pregnant as a result of rape. Today, we published his special report on the increase in sexual violence occurring in post-quake Haiti.

During his work on the story, he spent time with midwife Benitte Louis. He was fascinated by the tent camps - despite their temporary nature, life was continuing. And Nadav thought, where better to see life than by shadowing a midwife.

Nadav Neuhaus / for msnbc.com

While photographing Benitte at work as she helped Alexandra Pierie give birth in one of the makeshift tents in the camp, the labor got complicated and the midwife realized they needed to go the hospital. But the patient was unwilling to go to the hospital and was


concerned about the money for a cab.

Nadav Neuhaus for msnbc.com

After several minutes of debate, Nadav intervened and called his driver to lend a hand to the woman in trouble. He had made a choice to cross over from outside observer to participant. For Nadav, to help the woman was the obvious choice. "People’s lives are more important than any picture."

Nadav Neuhaus for msnbc.com

When they arrived at the hospital, the staff rushed to help the woman despite crowds of women in the delivery ward  - Nadav suspects because she was accompanied by a foreigner.

Nadav Neuhaus for msnbc.com

The woman was so relieved to be helped that she kept hugging Nadav, despite the pain of her labor. After some protests from the doctor, Nadav was granted access to see the woman give birth to a healthy baby. He was struck by the experience, "It was the first time I had seen a birth."

Nadav Neuhaus for msnbc.com