Safety in Service

A friend of mine told me about a program that aired last week on ABC News. The program described the murder of a female Peace Corps Volunteer serving in Benin in 2009. Subsequent to the airing of the program, I came across this article describing the same story. I’m providing the link http://www.politicsdaily.com/2011/01/17/peace-corps-turns-50-amid-charges-of-rape-murder-and-cover-up/?ncid=webmail because it is important information for all PCVs, especially women.

In earlier posts, I’ve joked about the fears I have in joining the Peace Corps. At some point I planned on doing a post on my actual fears. I guess now is as good a time as any to talk about them.

Rape, sexual assault, mugging, burglary…certainly have crossed my mind as “negatives” in joining the Peace Corps. Wherever I serve, I will stick out like a sore thumb: I’m fair-skinned and blonde-haired. I am not statuesque and slender, rather I am a stocky Midwestern woman. Although I’m not a farm girl, I could have been. I am strong, and compact.

As a woman, there is a certain amount of vigilance you must possess to try to assure your safety. There are very obvious things like not being out alone at night, going places with a buddy, making sure you lock your doors and windows, getting to know people in the village, etc. Unfortunately, there is no amount of vigilance that can protect you against corrupt and immoral people or governments. Please read the article and weigh in. I have more to say about this tragedy and welcome a healthy dialogue concerning the safety of women serving in the Peace Corps.

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This entry was posted in Health, Mid-Life, Peace Corps, Top Ten List of Fears and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Safety in Service

  1. Mary Trotter says:

    Hi Caran, I will find out in 2-3 weeks when and where! The original areas were Central/South America, the Caribbean or Africa.

  2. jesseosmun says:

    Laughing right now. YOU CANNOT BRING THESE!! They are weapons and honestly, you would find the attacker easily grabbing hold and tasering you. The best line of self defence for female PCV’s is really intuition, common sense, dressing as per cultural norms, and strength in numbers. We have a group of 35 PCV’s and at least 28 are women. None of them have had any serious experiences so don’t overreact.

    As for a self-defense course, I am not against this at all. I think everyone should know how to defend themselves, male or female.

  3. Caran says:

    Hi, PCV in Bulgaria. Where are you going and when?

  4. Hannah says:

    Are you allowed to bring tasers or keep small weapons on you in the peace corps? I saw a combination flashlight-stun gun on amazon.com that looks useful. Or maybe a self defense class before you go?

    • Mary Trotter says:

      I plan on bringing “safety equipment.” Can you send me the link to that flashlight-stun gun you mentioned? This week I went online and I am trying to find a self-defense course to take. It’s weird, but they’re not as plentiful as one might think.

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