Casey Frazee of First Response sent me an email the other day, after I had posted my blog about ‘what the Peace Corps was doing now’ to handle the sexual assaults in the agency. She wrote:

 ”I can send you the stat sheet from the Peace Corps but the last three years are the HIGHEST on record for the agency. The incidence rate in the Peace Corps is 5 times higher that the US rate of rape and sexual assault.

“There was a small decline in the REPORTS of rape in 2009, but the Peace Corps’ own survey shows there were another 33 unreported rapes in 2009 which is double+ the reported figure for that year.

” The Peace Corps’ initiatives are still very new and there has NOT been any PCV training yet, only staff training which was rolled out this February. The training was also not vetted by experts in the field and there is no plan in place to evaluate the training.

“I worry about the issue being mischaracterized as I still hear from women who are currently serving who have received poor response and treatment.

“I am happy to see the Peace Corps is taking positive steps, but we are far from finished with addressing this issue.”

According to the Peace Corps stat sheet:

  • Since 1961 over 200,000 Americans have served as Peace Corps Volunteers in 139 countries around the world.
  • Today, 8,655 Americans are serving in 77 host countries.
  • Since 1961, 269 Volunteers have died while serving. Of those 269 deaths, 23 have been homicides. (there have been 4 homicides in the last 10 years: Benin, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Philippines)
  • 66% of all deaths are due to accidents (car, plane, motorcycle, etc.)
  • Prior to Kate’s death, there were 3 Peace Corps deaths in Benin (All in the 1970s. 1 in 1973 by natural causes; 2 in 1975 — 1 by accident and 1 by natural causes)
  • The name of all Peace Corps Volunteers who have died while serving are engraved on a memorial wall at the Peace Corps’ headquarters in Washington DC. This memorial serves as a reminder to all who come to Peace Corps that the service of fallen Volunteers in an integral part of the Peace Corps’ legacy of public service around the world.

First Response Action “advocates for a stronger Peace Corps response for Volunteers who are survivors or victims of physical and sexual violence.” It was set up by Casey Frazee and several other RPCV women.

The website is: www.firstresponseaction.org