The data is comparable to the previous year's report, however sexual assaults are still on the rise. There were 128 incidents of rape, attempted rape, major sexual assault and 'other' sexual assault reported to Peace Corps.
That is 128 incidents too many.
Part of my mission is to adjust the common mentality when looking at issues of rape and sexual assault. Rape is a vicious act where the perpetrator is at fault, not the survivor. Rape is a violation of the most intimate kind which affects a person's body and mind.
Keeping this in mind, the following paragraph from the report, on page 6 under the heading Rape/Attempted Rape, was personally quite shocking:
Often both the Volunteer and the offender have consumed alcohol prior to the assault, and the Volunteer is usually not accompanied by other friends or Volunteers. Although she is typically not physically injured, she often requires medical follow‐up and counseling following the assault. In most rapes, the offender is not arrested and the Volunteer does not intend to prosecute if the offender is apprehended.
-- 2008 Peace Corps Safety of the Volunteer Report
When someone is raped, it is a physical injury. Naturally, medical follow-up is necessary along with counseling. This wording worries me of the way that women (or men) are treated after incidents of rape. Rape is a physical injury and a violation. I am shocked that this report appears not to consider rape a physical injury.
The article includes two other hot button issues - the lack of prosecution and alcohol use. Those will be discussed in postings to come as they are very important issues that deserve stand-alone posts.
As always, I welcome your feedback.