They were caught between the storm and chaos. Trapped in a city being shrunk by floodwaters, the people of New Orleans fled to the only shelters they knew were still dry-and they came by the thousands.
All kinds of reports came out of the Convention Center and the Superdome, some about rapes, fueled by a police chief who didn't know. And, days later, denials from rank and file police who say nobody was raped.
Now, the truth may be much more disturbing and painful.
Do I believe people were raped after and during Katrina? Absolutely," Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, Wanda Pezant said.
Pezant says over the last weeks, she has counted them. 18 victims, one as young as 13-years-old have now come forward to this sexual assault nurse examiner to say in the confusion of Katrina-they were raped.
Caught in dark corners in the Superdome, in shelters across Louisiana, victims and predators she says were suddenly trapped in the same mess-and the predators saw opportunity.
Judy Beniitez runs Louisiana's foundation against sexual assault. Since the hurricane first struck, she says her 15 crisis centers across the state have been getting calls from rape victims and those who witnessed rapes and either never went to the police, or there were no police to go to.
It has been more than a month since Katrina hit. Rape victims are now finding new homes, re-uniting with their families, and finally having the courage to deal with what happened to them during the hurricane. The latest woman to report-came forward just this week.
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