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.