How Peace Corps Handled My Sexual Assault

A misleading and downright irresponsible article posted on November 30th by CBS News concerning Peace Corps’ response to sexual assaults requires my response. You can read that article here. The author lumps together three very different issues: the question of in-country staff misconduct against host country nationals and a narrative of the termination of a victims’ advocate are sprinkled with tales of horror from PCVs who were assaulted in an attempt to reduce Peace Corps to just as hapless as it is villainous when it comes to dealing with sexual assault.

I have absolutely no comment on or knowledge of staff misconduct and how it is handled. But I do have a lot to say about Peace Corps’ care for victims of sexual assault.

About a year ago, and seven months into my service, I was raped while on vacation. I followed the procedures Peace Corps laid out for me: I got myself to safety. I called my Peace Corps Medical Officer on a Friday. That Monday, I was on a plane to Washington, DC for six weeks of cognitive behavioral therapy and medical care provided by headquarters. I had three weekly, one-hour appointments with a Peace Corps psychologist to combat PTSD with the aim of getting me back to site.

Much of my praise for Peace Corps falls on the staff who helped me, both in-country and at headquarters. My country director invited me to stay in her home instead of in a hotel while my flight was being arranged. My PCMO drove me herself to the country director’s house. My safety and security manager came in on her day off only to give me a hug. When I requested additional appointments at the end of the initial ten, my psychologist scheduled them without hesitation. When I was losing sleep over the possibility of being HIV positive, my international health coordinator accompanied me herself to have an additional blood test done. That same woman took me out to lunch when she happened to be in Indonesia on Peace Corps business six months later.

The mechanisms and procedures Peace Corps has established are meaningless without the efforts of the staff they hire. In my experience, every single person in the medical unit was kind, respectful, and helpful.

What is left unsaid in this CBS article is what is most dangerous. To someone unfamiliar with Peace Corps, it looks as if Peace Corps puts volunteers at great risk of sexual assault and then punishes them for reporting–indeed, the article is titled “Peace Corps volunteers blamed, punished for reporting sexual assaults?” I cannot stress enough how categorically false this is–however, I only speak as a post-reform victim. Any PCVs who were assaulted before 2013 will have had an entirely different experience. I can only speak to Peace Corps’s response as it is now.

Roughly one in five [Peace Corps Volunteers] is sexually assaulted during that service, according to the results of a recent anonymous Peace Corps safety questionnaire, obtained exclusively by CBS News.

The report also shows that nearly half don’t report the assaults.

While the author of the article insinuates that this is somehow a failing of Peace Corps, these statistics are consistent with sexual assault statistics across the board. More than one in five college students are sexually assaulted during their time at university and under-reporting is a constant struggle for victims’ advocates.

Hessler-Radelet also added 96 percent of volunteers questioned for a sexual assault response quality assurance survey indicated they are “satisfied with their services.”

That anonymous survey was sent to 183 people. Just 52 responded.

As far as that anonymous survey goes, I filled it out myself. It was long and, as you can imagine, not very fun. To have experienced a trauma and afterwards evaluate two months of the hardest time of your life in a 40-question survey? I wouldn’t blame anyone for not starting or finishing it. That’s no indication of a failing of Peace Corps, but rather a tendency (and right) of victims.

More than 500 volunteers have reported experiencing a sexual assault in a little over two years. CBS News spoke with nearly a dozen who questioned how their recent cases were handled. They told us they felt criticized and were threatened they would be fired.

Since CBS has so succinctly summarized a handful of opinions instead of quoting here, I have to ask how many of these victims said they didn’t report because they were afraid of being removed from site for legitimate safety and security concerns? The safety of volunteers is Peace Corps’ top priority and anecdotally, volunteers don’t take their own safety as seriously as Peace Corps does. I know I would have been gutted if I hadn’t been able to return to the home I have here in Indonesia after being raped; it would have felt like a punishment on top of the sexual assault. But it’s not a punishment, it’s a precaution. Being sexually assaulted is horrible and to have something you’ve worked so hard for taken from you as a result of that shatters you; however, if your safety cannot be guaranteed at your site, that’s what has to happen. Which leads me to my biggest complaint:

In April, two men with machetes forced the 23-year-old off the village’s main road. Smith got away and reported the assault to the Peace Corps and within a week, the agency told her she was going home.

The insinuation by the author of this article that Peace Corps retaliated against this volunteer for reporting her assault is absurd. I have no doubt they sent her home, but they did so because there were men with machetes threatening her at her site. To Peace Corps, volunteers’ safety is paramount. I’ve seen PCVs’ sites moved for less. I was fortunate in some ways in that my assault happened far from my village, indeed outside of Indonesia, but this is not the case for all PCVs; I met and spoke to many who were unable to return to their sites because of safety and security concerns which was absolutely heartbreaking. It’s not fair. Peace Corps is rarely able to relocate volunteers to finish their contracts because of the extensive site development and agreements with host countries, so for most it means the end of their service–and of course most people don’t want to merely finish, they want to continue to serve the communities they’ve grown to love. The idea that in the depths of Peace Corps Headquarters, Director Carrie Hesseler-Radelet is twirling her mustachios while denying volunteers who have been assaulted a chance to serve would be laughable if it weren’t so dangerous–and insulting.

There are important questions this article could have asked instead of trying to demonize everything about Peace Corps. This is simply bad journalism.

I’m sure this is all very shocking to some of you reading. I lied to you about a mysterious stomach illness and for that I do not apologize. I’ve been quite tight-lipped about being raped except with people I saw in DC and the volunteers here in Indonesia–indeed, I led a presentation during pre-service training in April about sexual assault reporting in front of sixty-five trainees I’d never met before, only a month after returning from DC.

Let me be clear: I was not raped because I was serving in the Peace Corps. I was not raped because I was on vacation. I was not raped because I travel. I was raped because that is the plight of women in the world today. This could have happened to anyone, anywhere and was in no way a consequence of my Peace Corps service. It was the consequence of being a woman living in 2015.

This has been an incredibly difficult year for me and by writing this I in no way suggest I am perfectly recovered. I have occasional flashbacks. I have frequent bouts of problematic thinking that I actively combat. I am not the first nor the last Peace Corps Volunteer to be sexually assaulted during service but now, almost a full year later, I am truly doing well. I only returned to site thanks to my wonderful, supportive friends and allies and also thanks to Peace Corps’ HQ and specifically Peace Corps Indonesia’s superb care. Not every volunteer in my circumstances has the same experience with Peace Corps, but this is mine.

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39 thoughts on “How Peace Corps Handled My Sexual Assault

  1. This is an amazing post and I applaud you for your bravery. I know it must have been difficult for you to write about such a traumatic event! I grew up being sexually abused and refused to talk about it for years, but after I began talking about it with those close to me I realized that every time I talk about it the abuse has less control over me. With each word I gain a new level of freedom an conquer it. Don’t stop talking about it because every single word out of your mouth will set you free and those around you. Your story is inspiring and you are amazing!

  2. Thank you so much for sharing your story. Thank you for pointing out the sweeping generalizations the article makes with no context. I hope this blog reinforces how individualized the PC experience is to all the skeptics and hopefuls out there. So glad to hear you were able to receive adequate support.

  3. Thank you for your story. I was heartbroken when that CBS story came out. While I was not assaulted or mistreated during my own service, I constantly had to reassure friends and family back home that I was safe. Thank you for putting the CBS story in perspective.
    Your line, “I was raped because that is the plight of women in the world today” really hits the mark.

  4. It’s so reassuring to read your story as a counter to the CBS piece. Your analysis is direct and to the point on each and every count. I deeply identified with your account of the thorough and absolutely personal attention and dedication of Peace Corps Medical, in-country, and headquarters staff. My wife and I were the recipients of a fantastic level of care in 2003 after a traumatic injury she sustained (not an assault of any kind but an accident). We are forever thankful for the way Peace Corps cares for its people.

  5. I see no reference in your writing to the Peace Corp supervisors who raped volunteers, they were then dismissed, then later rehired by the Peace Corp.

    While I am glad your specific situation was handled to your liking, it is wrong of you to assume all the others are wrong.

    The facts in the CBS report are just that. Facts.

    Of course not every volunteer is raped while serving. But for you to attempt whitewash a report because of your own narrow experience…is misguided.

    There is a several problems with the Peace Corps which affects several areas of the organization. Those need to be acknowledged and rectified.

    Not hidden behind a single experience of a single volunteer/rape victim still dealing with her feelings.

    • As I stated, this is just my story and I am in no way capable of commenting on anything to do with PC staff misconduct. I specifically said that because I know there are problems with PC staff that need to be corrected–but I found the title of the piece incredibly unfair and without the proper framing.

      This is just another facet of the story.

    • You’re actually misrepresenting the info precisely because the CBS report did not do well in presenting the policy failures which really should be addressed. There were NOT “Peace Corps supervisors” raping volunteers who were re-hired.

      There was an American official in one country who allegedly assaulted at least one host country national woman. Following an internal investigation into the allegations, he resigned from his position rather than be fired. He no longer works for Peace Corps.

      Completely separately, there was a case of a former volunteer who admitted to violating the sexual conduct policy as a volunteer, but who had been hired as an employee by Peace Corps. He also no longer works for Peace Corps.

      These are problems which DO need to be addressed, but the poor reporting by CBS left them unclear, as you’ve demonstrated.

      It is rather mean and petty of you to post your reply in the tone and attitude that you did. I find it incredibly hypocritical that you’re criticizing the agency’s treatment of sexual assault victims, yet you have demonstrated utter disrespect and condescension to this victim as she tells her story. You could have made your point about addressing problem areas without denigrating this brave woman’s voice.

      Dear author of this blog, thank you for having the courage to assert your view as important and valuable. I hope you’re getting lots of love and support from your nearest and dearest.

      • As I stated, I am in no way attempting to address any of the staffing issues (which are very real) with this post. You’ll notice I did not quote the PCV victim in my rebuttle, but rather the phrasing in the article by the original author which insinuated something I disagreed with. It’s okay that he took that tone with me–I’d rather see people getting riled up over this than not. And there ARE issues here that need to be addressed!

        I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment!

      • The problem is that these ARE real issues going on, in this country and elsewhere, but when someone with an axe to grind gets to set the story (because Peace Corps does not and cannot respond to specific allegations), it gives a highly unbalanced one, and negatively affects the ability of all the volunteers in the country to maintain the trust they worked so hard to build, and to do their jobs effectively.

    • You talk about her own personal experience not being enough when the CBS report mentions that the shared experience(since no actual quotes were given) of “a dozen or so” out of FIVE HUNDRED victims felt that their situation was mishandled. that doesn’t seem anecdotal to you??

      As this author mentions, the statistics of victims in Peace Corps are comparable to statistic across the nation(if not better than those worldwide). So yes, Peace Corps is not perfect and has work to do but if you’re not clear on the true experience of volunteers, you can’t really make a fair assessment of what that work is. I get you want to hold organizations accountable, but witch-hunts and misrepresented information do nothing to that affect. Facts can be misrepresented, as I also think they were here. yes, sometimes victims have to go leave their site, but that is for their safety. The places we serve are not often places where perpetrators are held accountable by upstanding law enforcement, on the contrary, so sometimes safety means leaving. Serving two years in a small community in a developing country without close friend or family is not something that everyone can do at any point in their life, sometimes after a traumatic event, it is best for volunteers to put that experience on hold for their well-being and for the development of the community; that is not victim-blaming, that is reality. As a peace corps volunteer who experienced physical assault in a different country, I also had a similar experience with Peace Corps staff going above and beyond, as did the volunteers I roomed with that were also receiving extensive support from Peace Corps when I was flown to DC for care.

      This is not a single experience, and this is saying nothing about staff management(although, again, this report only used a single story which, ironically, seemed to be enough for you to draw conclusions), but many volunteers over the past couple years have felt the extremely positive shift in the way Peace Corps supports and cares for victims of sexual assault or otherwise, so try to see all sides of the story.

  6. I am so glad you shared your story it is great to hear that you got a positive response. I think the problem with PC lay in its ablity to respond consistantly and I would be wary of dismissing or trying to fill in the blanks of what happened to the volunteer on CBS, she obviously still felt blamed and hurt and that is not acceptable and is equally as brave for sharing her story. I think it is second nature for RPCVs to want to defend PC we loved the work that we do. But those who share stories of not so flattering image of PC love the agency just the same and just want it to do better for the next volunteer.

  7. Thank you so much for calling out an example of bad journalism and for explaining so clearly that some PC decisions are based on safety and security, rather than retaliation. Most of all, thank you for putting your own story out where it can educate others, or maybe at least provoke some thoughtful reflection. I’m so glad you got the support you deserved, and I wish you continued peace of mind and success in all your endeavors. You sound like someone I would have enjoyed knowing and working with when I was a PCV.

  8. Thank you for sharing your story. As a former Peace Corps volunteer, I’ve heard many stories similar to yours and I do agree with what you mentioned pertaining to how Peace Corps HQ handles sexual assault of volunteers, and they should be given credit for their compassion, professionalism and true love for each and every single volunteer who have been assaulted while serving.

    With this, I applaud you for your courage and stepping out to share your story with this world. We need more stellar women like you in this world.

  9. “The facts in the CBS report are just that. Facts.” Right, like the facts in the UVA story by Rolling Stone?

    The CBS story was just another hit piece like the Dayton Daily News reports about ten years ago.

  10. Thank you for writing this piece. It’s good to know how the system is supposed to work and good to know that there are competent, caring PC staff in the field today. I was a Peace Corps volunteer 30 years ago and my daughter is a Peace Corps volunteer today. From what I’ve seen, Peace Corps is a very different experience from country to country depending upon the Country Director and the staff. I remember trusting my country director and the staff (including our wonderful PCMO) implicitly. I saw them respond to all manner of vounteer emergencies with care and professionalism. Flash forward to today and I don’t have that same feeling about my daughter’s country director (or PCMO). Due to a natural disaster (and subsequent safety concerns), my daughter was moved to a new site mid-way through her service. The new site had never had a female volunteer and she was very uncomfortable with the vibe in the town. She was the victim of daily harassment – which had not been her experience up to that point, and which didn’t abate over time. I visited her site and can attest that, while most folks were quite pleasant (as they were throughout most of the other places I visited in the country), some of the men in her town were downright obnoxious and scary. Peace Corps turned a deaf ear to her concerns, although they are not placing another female in that site after she leaves. In my opinion, if an experienced female volunteer tells PC that a site has an uncomfortable/unsafe vibe, then they should move the woman to a different site! Other sites were open, other jobs were available (placements that matched her skills) – but she was obligated to stay in an uncomfortable situation for the last 9 months of her service.

  11. This is an AMAZING blog post – thank you so, so much for your bravery and for your clarity of thought. As a woman preparing to depart for the Peace Corps next spring, the report definitely jostled me a bit (as well as my family, of course.) I’m going to send this to them. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    I particularly love this paragraph: “Let me be clear: I was not raped because I was serving in the Peace Corps. I was not raped because I was on vacation. I was not raped because I travel. I was raped because that is the plight of women in the world today. This could have happened to anyone, anywhere and was in no way a consequence of my Peace Corps service. It was the consequence of being a woman living in 2015.”

    TRUTH.

  12. Thank you for your words and your courage to put yourself out there for the benefit of all. People who have been assaulted need to hear it is not their fault. Peace & love to you!

  13. Hi – I am a RPCV from Malaysia and Jamaica; I have worked on volunteer projects in India, and SE Asia. I find it extremely satisfying to read that the Medical people are getting it right and have uped the ante on the quality of care that the volunteer is receiving. There has been a lot of work done to encourage the medical people to continue to do the good job they are doing and the good care of the abused volunteers will continue to improve. This is, in part, a social issue that will get better and be better handled as time goes by and the amount of effort continues grow. Now, people are starting to take control of the siuation which will also lead to better response time a factor that is critical in the success of the care that one is receving.. Again, it is important now to keep up the good work on the part of all of the people that are a part. Now we seem to be somewhere in the middle – getting ready to come out on the side of success. Take care for a better tomorrow.

  14. I am thankful for your comment! I celebrate your courage, resiliency and ability to overcome your hurt and reach out to the world with your experience!
    Einstein said” Any inteligent fool can make things bigger, more complex and more violent. It takes a touch of a genius to move in the opposite direction.”
    I truly hope more RPCVs share their experiences using social networking, as media as CBS are not interested in sharing stories of the many PCVs who felt supported in their times of troupble during service.
    We need more geniuses like you to today more than ever.THANK YOU!

  15. I am very glad that you had an experience that you felt was appropriate with the new reporting system, and you does make some good points about how there were really three topics lumped together into one story.

    However, I am concerned about RPCVs coming out and saying, that wasn’t my experience and so those claims are just a vocal minority. The people behind the Posh Corps documentary have begun a podcast as well, and one episode was dedicated to Nick Castle and his death. In an interview, his mother spoke about how she had hoped that the RPCV community would listen to her concerns that stem from her son’s death and that instead she has been met with what she described as “closing rank” around the organization, with people saying that wasn’t my experience and so there is nothing wrong with the system. Yet even the Office of the Inspector General, the independent department that evaluates Peace Corps, has reported that there are policies and treatment of volunteers that are not beneficial at the least and damaging at worst.

    I think was is truly most alarming to me, regarding this story, is the demotion and current suspension without pay of the Kellie Greene, the woman who was hired as the head of the Office of Victim Advocacy and that she is pursuing whistleblower legal action.

    Also, what both the original reporting around the Web and this response fail to take into account is how while there may be a single policy from Washington, the response from in-country staff, which is overwhelmingly comprised of host-country nationals, varies. I too have experience with bringing something to the attention of the country director, and I was not invited to his residence but was instead told that I was misconstruing the situation and to brush it off as harmless. I am glad that this happened in a country with staff that are sympathetic to her experience and situation, but in my conversations with volunteers in other countries that is not the norm.

    I think that it is important as RPCVs to say, while that was not my experience with the system, I recognize that it was yours and I believe you and we should work to make sure that is not another volunteer’s experience.

  16. As a PCV I am so thrilled to hear about how your situation was handled. It sounds like your PC staff is awesome and it makes me so proud to be apart of this organization. With that being said, we also need to respect the less fortunate volunteers that did not have the same experience with how their sexual assault was handled by PC staff. I think the more appropriate way to address this article is not by commenting on the “bad journalism” but by supporting our fellow PCVs and opening up the conversation about the issue at hand. You know first hand how difficult it was to write about your experience on your blog, imagine how equally difficult it must have been for Danae to tell her story to CBS News.

    • I wholly disagree. Of course we should be supporting fellow PCVs who don’t have great experiences–that’s not a question. You’ll notice that I never addressed any of the R/PCVs who shared their stories in my response. Everything I rebutted was attributed to the author of the article. The bad journalism is worth speaking against because it detracts from the true, important issues at hand. An article like this diminishes the real problems of Peace Corps with its insinuations and demonizations of everything about the program and that’s as much a threat to true change as saying nothing at all.

  17. I hope your story reaches those in Congress who may have read the CBS posted article, as this is the type of news that can really impact funding of initiatives that work to change poor policies and support successful experiences for volunteers and their counterparts and host communities. Thanks to all volunteers that share their stories, as difficult as it may be. Bless you all.

  18. I was recently assaulted in country. In fact, less than a month ago. I have nothing negative to say. In country staff have been fantastic, OVA has been wonderful and I have so much praise for COU. This video has been nothing but stressful, retraumatizing and it is wrong. Maybe a few countries have had negative experiences, but that doesn’t define us as a whole.

    Please forgive me for posting with an email I don’t use anymore. I won’t see your response. You are so brave, I’m just not ready for anyone to know yet.

    Peace Corps did everything they could and I followed all the rules. You can’t stop a perpetrator if they are set on doing it. Be brave and stay strong!

  19. For me, discrediting bad journalism and sharing a personal story that is different than many other experiences in the PC are distinct narratives. Sharing this story does not work to discredit CBS, however deserved they are. CBS is working to inflame outrage and encourage reactionary thinking. It’s irresponsible, I agree. However, my experience is that no one was listening and PC actively worked to discredit volunteers who were brave, like you, and shared their personal experience with sexual assault and other trauma in the PC. Sharing only with the hope the could get support. I have tried for a long time to pause and really consider this issue.
    First of all, bravo to you for feeling like your voice was important and would be heard. Clearly it is heard and that is wonderful. Everyone’s voice needs to be heard. My experience is that for many people in PC their voices are not heard and they are discredited and shamed for speaking out for themselves.
    For me, I don’t think being assaulted is just a reality of the modern world as females. In fact, I believe it is an issue of vulnerability and power. My guess is that sexual assault is not just a female experience in the Peace Corps. I believe that Peace Corps and volunteers share the responsibility for volunteers being put in a situation that makes them vulnerable. Also, being assaulted in the PC is different because by definition the volunteer is vulnerable in a foreign environment – we didn’t speak the language, we stood out, sometimes just for being there we were resented, we were misunderstood and at least for me, I missed a lot of social cues that I would have picked up in my own culture and environment.
    I appreciate that Peace Corps has worked hard to change their response since, according to you, 2013. Here’s what makes me sick, why don’t any of the victims before that know of any of these changes? How can these changes not include amends or at least acknowledgment to the victims of their reality? Six weeks of PTSD therapy was not enough for me, personally. We need so much more.
    I support you and I hear you. I also pledge to support and listen to the people I know who served honorably and experienced the trauma twice – once by the attacker and again by Peace Corps. That’s my personal experience and reality.

  20. I was assaulted post reform and was handled the same as the last CBS article had stated. This PCV was one of the lucky ones that had received quality care. Mishandling and blaming happens more so than not with my experience and the fellow volunteers I served with. It’s still happening. But I do agree with her, staff and implementation of the new policies are crucial as to how assaulted PCVs are ‘handled’ after an assualt. Just because her experience was how assaults should be handled in terms of getting the proper resources and with empathy, doesn’t mean that’s how every RPCV is handled unfortunately. I wish we could generalize this article but unfortunately there’s still a hell of a long way to go.

  21. The most important thing you said was that you don’t know what it was like prior to 2013. I can tell you from personal experience, that Peace Corps definitely didn’t handle things well in 1985 when I was a volunteer.

    My friend, also a volunteer, was sexually assaulted and reported everything by the book. The in-country staff was great, but the situation took a drastic turn for the worse when my friend went to D.C. for all the psychological tests.

    Medical staff began poking around in my friend’s past history and based on what they found, they terminated her. So talk about adding insult to injury. My friend had to pay her own way back to our country of service and was essentially cut off.

    Based on her experience, I didn’t report my rape to Peace Corps because I didn’t want to have to go through what she did.

    There’s absolutely no excuse for the way Peace Corps handled the situation.

  22. re…”A misleading and downright irresponsible article” is incorrect. I know this blog is only your opined experience and only one facet of the overall organization, but the article itself is not irrisponsible nor misleading.

    Am very sad to hear of your trauma experienced on vacation, and also very glad to know you received (what should be the standard for all) excellent care. I support you greatly but … the facts in the CBS article are well proven and well founded. This news article is not a report on the overall entire organization to include possible positive/beneficial management standards. It is a report only on these factual issues alone,

    Similar analogies are the millions of articles that factualy report the thousands of rapes, crimes, malpractice, and cover-ups that have occurred and still happen regularly in the military and religious organizations. There are beneficial actions, and many compassionate people with integrity, in all these organizations. The crimes are being reported in the many articles, not the many beneficial facets which would be too numerous to mention. The only way an organization can improve and/or stay strong is if the mistakes and/or corruption is reported and dealt with effectively.

    The CBS article was not misleading nor irresponsible as it was a report only about the crimes. It is the fault of some readers (including you) to assume the CBS article implies that the entire organization is defunct. I and others read the article and never once thought CBS was stating nor implying that the entire PCorps was corrupt/failing.

    The CBS article should not deter, but rather motivate, others to join and support the Peace Corps to help it grow stronger while providing permanently remedies for the mistakes/corruption. Your encouragement to remind others (that some professional, humane, legal and compassionate staff and rules continue to exist) is wonderful also. Good work, and glad you are there to help others whose experience was far worse than yours. Count yourself blessed. CBS and you both did great work.

    FYI, I am not a journalist. I am a retired military but current civilian physician and researcher. My military trauma and crimes thereafter I endured (all from military leaders and some government officials) were not as positive as other colleagues who experienced similar treatment & trauma. So, I speak from experience, very similar to yours. Thus:
    – Please understand that the CBS article reporting these facts will overall benefit your beloved organization. It is HIGHLY IMPERATIVE that if any organization is to survive, that the corruption be fully and firmly uprooted, reported, and thoroughly corrected/removed. E.g., i fully support and have great pride for the military as a whole, but many of the UCMJ regulations, laws, leaders and some soldiers repeatedly enact or support corruption that kills/wounds OUR OWN soldiers.
    – Support the Peace Corps true values, but PLEASE SUPPORT those who do the hardest work…. fighting corruption and trauma within our service organizations, which does the greatest damage to our own public servants, ( not to mention wasting millions of our/my tax dollars i.e., getting paid with my/our tax dollars, to enact and cover up heinous inhumane crimes on my American neighbors).

    PPS (sorry for caps, felt emphasis was necessary, but no ability to bold or underline).
    I’m beyond proud of you and my many colleagues in the Peace Corps who do work that is far more important and helpful to humanity than any military could ever do.

    Take care & keep your fighting, compassionate spirit.

  23. Elle your point is well made. I do wish all assault victims had your wonderful treatment afterwards….my experience is that your’s is the exception.

  24. I am glad that you got the support that you needed and deserved. I also think you are brave to stand up and share this personal experience for something you believe in but I am afraid this journalist makes a much needed point. The article is an accurate depiction of what things were like in my country, including limits being placed on the number of counseling sessions and the term ‘good volunteer’ being used regularly and inappropriately. Peace Corps also avoids being held accountable by hiding behind the need to protect confidentiality. The Peace Corps leadership experience is wholly different from the amazing experience of community integration and the bonds made with fellow volunteers. I would not give up my PCV experience for anything but I am disappointed and angry with the internal PC organization.

    • “Peace Corps also avoids being held accountable by hiding behind the need to protect confidentiality.” Actually, they would be breaking the HIPAA law by not protecting confidentiality.

      • I am referring to the standard, “Is it true your company failed employee A by not providing x?” Q&A scenario where the company sidesteps the question with a response like “To protect employee A’s confidentiality I am not at liberty to answer that question.”

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