Peace Corps Accused of Failing Rape Victims

Women speak out about agency's 'blame the victim' culture
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 11, 2011 4:10 AM CDT
Some 8,655 Peace Corps volunteers and trainees are currently serving in 77 countries.   (Wikipedia)

(Newser) – A growing number of Peace Corps volunteers who have been raped while serving abroad are speaking out about their experiences and accusing the agency of not doing enough to help victims. Dozens of women describe a "blame the victim" culture at the government-run program and say the callous treatment they received was, in some cases, as traumatizing as the sexual assault itself, reports the New York Times.

The agency says an average of 22 Peace Corps women a year are victims of rape or attempted rape, although experts believe many attacks go unreported. A House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing today will focus on what its chairwoman describes as the "gross mismanagement of sexual assault complaints." Victims say they want Congress to pass legislation requiring the agency to develop sexual assault response teams and to provide victims with emergency health care after attacks.

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