Central America and Mexico Region

“One night [I was] celebrating the birthday of [a male community resident]. At some point during the festivities I found myself separated from the group and alone with [this man]. [H]e attempted to take off my clothes many times and I kept telling him no, that I didn’t want to have sex. It was at this point that he pulled down my pants and sodomized and raped me. I don’t clearly remember the assault in specifics other than to say that I repeatedly said no and told him he was hurting me. When he was done he gave me a kiss and told me that he had to get home. Crying and physically hurt, I took a shower and tried to distance myself from what had happened as much as possible.”

“I approached my PCMOs [Peace Corps Medical Officers], two nurses, at PC Headquarters in the capital city and told them about the situation. I was so upset I could barely talk about the incident and refused to label it a sexual assault after I was shown the flow chart of who had to be contacted and what I’d have to go through following a sexual assault. There were no fewer than 15 people on that list, many of whom I had no confidence in, including the Country Director.”

“I also went to see a counselor. However, after our initial visit where she asked me to admit to the actions that made the incident my fault I had no trust in sharing what had happened with her. I continued to have anxiety over the assault and was prescribed sleeping pills to help with my insomnia.”

“I wish the Peace Corps had put in place a process for volunteers, like myself, who felt like they could not label their incident a sexual assault because they did not trust the administrators within their country of service. For me, having a Country Director who was not sensitive to my assault and who did not keep my confidence made it impossible for me to come forward and give the details of the assault at the time it occurred.  What do you do when you feel like you’re being intimidated by your Country Director? Compound this intimidation with the stress of experiencing a sexual assault and you have a PCV who feels like they are unable to come forward about their experience.”

“If I could ask the Peace Corps for one thing, I would ask that they understand the benefits of implementing a program that addresses sexual assault, both emotionally and physically. In terms of programmatic benefits, empowering someone who has been sexually assaulted not only strengthens the institution of Peace Corps by producing a survivor of sexual assault who can positively describe how he or she overcame the assault with the help of Peace Corps but it also allows individuals to continue to believe in the reasons why they originally joined Peace Corps. Creating a program for survivors of sexual assault is necessary for the continued viability of Peace Corps and essential in maintaining a program that Sargent Shriver would be proud of.”

WordPress theme: Kippis 1.15