(Possible trigger warning for rape subject/sexual assault)
Over the past few years I’ve been toying with the idea of joining the Peace Corps. So far I’ve received mixed reviews on whether or not it’s the right thing to do. Some say it’s a government funded semester abroad-a vacation for privileged white kids to fulfill whatever fascination or desire they have to dig wells and live in poverty for 27 months. Others say it’s the best rewarding experience of their lives and nothing in this world compares to being able to make even a small/miniscule difference in someone’s life (even if that difference is the memory of the crazy American that didn’t know how to hand wash their own shorts. I think my biggest conflict has nothing to do with where I would be sent, or how many scorpions or creatures may crawl into my bed on a nightly basis. It has nothing to do with me being in danger from contracting malaria or the latest typhoon. My biggest problem is how the Peace Corps deals with rape/or sexual assault and lately-its been blowing my mind. Many women have come forward explaining their horrific experiences abroad-detailed stories of how they were stalked or randomly attacked in whichever village they were sent into. It seems as though Peace Corps put forth little effort in either removing the volunteers in times of danger, or providing significant counseling or resources to help victims move on with their lives if an attack happened. What’s worse is that volunteers involved in any attacks were blamed for their behavior, as if they caused the attack and they must have done something wrong. It seems as though the organization is really only concerned with their idealistic kennedy-esque image and a scandal immediately needs to be covered up and ignored. Needless to say it has kind of put me off of the idea of joining. I pictured myself being shipped off to a far and distant land as a material possession (not an actual person just a useful body without thoughts or feelings) of “peace”-only existing to fulfill the wishes of a bureaucratic state government. If anything were to happen to me-there are plenty of other volunteers to go around anyway. I haven’t reached a decision yet, I guess it’s always best to have all sides of information before one makes a decision but I haven’t been able to get this off of my mind and thought I would share it.