Saturday, March 20, 2010

Community Response to Sexual Assault and Rape in Kenya

Another one of the strong women in the legion of female Peace Corps Volunteers is Meg Long, RPCV Kenya, 2003-05. She saw the need in and around her Kenyan village for the community to get additional education about issues of rape and sexual assault. She even created a manual for community organizations to use. Here is Meg's story in her own words as the first guest blogger for the First Response Action Coalition.

As an RPCV (Kenya 2003-2005) I am both very proud to have served as a Peace Corps Volunteer and aware that there is always room for improvement, including within Peace Corps. I feel PC can better serve their volunteers with a standardized protocol for helping survivors of sexual assault. I also feel this will strengthen Peace Corps and allow female PCVs to breath a little easier, knowing they have the support of the organization, no matter what the circumstances. During my service I very quickly became aware of the high incidence of rape in my and the surrounding villages.

As a result I wrote a manual titled “The Bridge is on Fire” which address domestic violence and sexual assault. The manual was written for the Kenyan community as a resource for those who have been assaulted and for those who are trying to support/help someone who was assaulted. After writing and publishing the manual I provided a 3-day workshop with village Chiefs, community leaders, counselors, teachers, health care workers and respected community members. The workshop was very well-received and a bridge of communication was opened on a topic that does not even translate into the local language. I strongly feel that similar and ongoing survivor-centered trainings would benefit PCVs and PC administrative staff.

Meg Long, RPCV Kenya '03-'05

There are many volunteers like Meg throughtout Peace Corps who make lasting impacts in their Peace Corps communities and beyond. That passion and dedication is inspiring. Sexual assault and rape are issues in every country around the world, even though, as Meg points out, it doesn't translate into every language.

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