Friday, February 25, 2011

First Response Action Requests Your Stories for Congressional Hearing

Following the recent episode of 20/20 which featured RPCVs who were sexually assaulted during their service, Congress has decided to explore the issue further and has asked First Response Action to provide additional information from RPCVs about their experiences, prevention and response efforts, and possible policy enhancements. This is for an upcoming hearing, most likely at the end of March.

Pursuant to that request, we, First Response Action, are gathering stories of former volunteers who experienced sexual assault while serving in the Peace Corps. We have model affidavits to help survivors tell their stories, and will share those stories with Congress affording survivors whatever level of anonymity or attribution they choose. We are also interested in the stories of RPCVs advocates and others, including Peace Corps staff (current or former) including former Country Directors, who may have information regarding sexual assault prevention and response policies.

The parameters are very open for this. We are seeking stories from Volunteers who served during any decade, in any region and who have any type of story. Every story helps Congress frame the issue of Peace Corps' response to sexual assault.

If you are interested in sharing your story, or would like further information, please contact Casey Frazee at

All inquiries will be considered confidential.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Trouble with Worker's Comp?

About a week ago, one of our First Response Action members, Jess Smochek, met with Peace Corps officials and one of our Congressional allies. Ed Hobson, Associate Director for Safety and Security at Peace Corps, said he was SHOCKED that survivors are having trouble accessing services through Worker's Comp.

Ed personally agreed to advocate for survivors who are having trouble getting money and support from Worker's Comp.

If you are having trouble with Worker's Comp (or haven't tried for fear of trouble) please contact me at and I will get you in touch with the right people to help.

Peace Corps promises to cover any service-related injuries for the rest of your life and being assaulted or raped (or otherwise violated) during service counts as a service-related injury and you DESERVE to be covered.

I'm happy to see that Peace Corps is taking a step in the right direction to support survivors.


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Peace Corps Job Posting for Victim Advocate

Within the past two weeks, Peace Corps posted a Victim Advocate position on their website. After the first posting was taken down and re-vamped, it re-appeared this week in it's current, more robust form. The Victim Advocate will be based in D.C.

Here are the highlights:

Job Title: Program Advisor (Victims Advocate)

Agency: Peace Corps

DUTIES:(The duties described reflect the full performance level of this position)

Serves as the principal agency advocate for Volunteers who become victims of crime. Develops processes to ensure effective communications channels for victims.

Establish best practices protocols for victim support.

Develops training objectives and course materials for formal training programs in the area of victims advocacy.

Performs liaisons and consultations with other federal agencies and outside organizations on victims support and advocacy.

Qualifications and Evaluations


KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS, AND ABILITIES:(The KSAs below may not apply at all grades)

Demonstrated knowledge of victims advocacy protocols, programs, best practices.

Ability to conduct complex analyses of institutional policies, practices and procedures.

Ability to identify and develop corrective strategies aimed and ensuring holistic support services and systems for victims of crimes.

Ability to communicate with senior level policy makers in government and outside experts in the area of victims advocacy.

Ability to coordinate response and support services and track outcomes.

Ability to work in a multi-cultural context

Take a look at the full Victim Advocate job posting for yourself and let me know what you think at


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Congressman Ted Poe's Floor Speech 2-8-11

Congressman Ted Poe, who is the co-chair of the Victims Rights Caucus, is a supporter of First Response Action and of increased Peace Corps response to sexual assault and rape. He gave a floor speech about this important issue on 2/8.

View the floor speech here.

Congressman Poe spoke about the need to respond appropriately to incidences of sexual assault and rape and not to blame victims. He stresses that perpetrators need to be held accountable for their crimes. Congressman Poe describes situations that happened to several Volunteers.