Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Safety of the Volunteer Peace Corps Annual Report 2007

Thank you to everyone who has given their support to this initiative – if you emailed, you’ve been added to this blog’s list of supporters! I am especially thankful to anyone who posted anything about this on their Peace Corps blogs. Thank you and please continue to spread the word! There are 8,000 volunteers serving this year and roughly 195,000 have served since Peace Corps began in 1961, so I know we have lots of other people to reach out to about making change in the way volunteers who are survivors of sexual abuse are treated!

An RPCV was kind enough to send me links to Peace Corps data that I had been unable to find in my previous searches. At that website, I was able to find the annual reports titled The Safety of the Volunteer. The most recent document on that site has statistics for 2007 and can be found at the link below:

There is a great amount of data in this report, but one item that struck me was the following, which was in the section of Other Sexual Assaults on page 10.

Trend analysis indicates that other sexual assault incidence rates have been
increasing an average of 7 percent each year over the 10-year period.
- The Safety of the Volunteer Annual Report 2007, page 10

The report continues with data of the time of day a volunteer is attacked, rates in a given month, location, etc. The report closes with a very passive “Posts are urged to share their “best practices” prevention strategies with other countries and with regional and headquarters staff.”

Peace Corps monitors safety, but it doesn’t appear that there has been a push for action. Maybe that is because they haven't heard from volunteer who are experiencing that. This is why it is paramount that the Peace Corps Community and friends of the Community need to speak up or else these situations of sexual abuse and physical violence against volunteers will not be addressed appropriately. Reasonably, we know that we cannot guarantee safety or prevent violence or sexual abuse 100-percent, but we can certainly reduce risks and revise the way that these cases are managed.


  1. Hey there. I'm an RPCV from Panama. I think what you're saying is very important and definitely vital to have. I'm wondering if the problem is country to country. Which I guess would make it even more important to have a unified Peace Corps plan for these types of incidents... I only ask because at my post I felt like we received plenty of information and training on what to do in case of such an incident. And there was lots of support available and a plan in place. So maybe the problem lies with only specific countries. Don't know though. Should be looked into.

  2. Thank you so much for your comment. I completely agree that these things will vary post-to-post. From the reports I read, most of the assualt reporting came from different countries in Africa and Eastern Europe. More information equals more power and ability in the Volunteer's hands. That's why I'm hoping to get policy in place that will help across the board. It seems that some countries who desperately need better training, reaction and information are those who do not and those who DO have the training, reaction and information are not dealing with as many instances.