|By Bankass.com (0-1pool136-22.nas12.somerville1.ma.us.da.qwest.net - 22.214.171.124) on Monday, November 17, 2003 - 8:49 am: Edit Post|
The Legacy of Jack Kennedy's Peace Corps is one of the best contributions of Human Relations in a governmental structure created in the 20th century.
However, within the Peace Corps today, that can not be said for the people who served the cause and were victims of violence during their service. The Peace Corps during the 1990's and through present day has covered up instead of evolving with the times. The problems of safety and security and attrition are huge problems and they continue to be apathetic to safety of placing volunteers together after 9/11 and the threats to Americans worldwide. As of today, 27 Volunteers have perished since 1996 and 24 since 1998. It is triple the amount from other decades.
They have been arrogant to change. Also, the program is beleaguered with problems from the past in terms of dealing with volunteers who have served and were victims of rape, random violence, assaulted and terrorized at their site.
They continue to go to their friends on hill who served them during the sixties when these acts of violence were less likely to happen. These Senators and Congressmen protect Peace Corps from fundamentally having to change toward assisting volunteers from the past who have gone through these challenges.
Take for example Senator Dodd on the Foreign Relations committee. Many of his friends are at the National Peace Corps Association. These are the only folks the Foreign Relations committee will speak with. These peace Corps folks did not meet an assailent in the field, a rapist, or people who are organized with a political agenda to harass and threaten American foreign policy.
What is sad is that we could have had this discussion, placed two volunteers at every site and placed volunteers in better positions with better support and supervision and the Agency would not be under such scrunity. Also, the Peace Corps must provide volunteers who have been victims of violence and wrongful separations due to safety issues to compensated for opportunity lost, health care and the ability to serve the Peace Corps family again.
The arrogance is over. I am now 40 at mid life and know the Peace Corps did not handle my case and service correctly. How have they treated your service as a victim of violence? They always put up people who say,"it didn't happen to me,so there is no problem." These RPCV's attack other volunteers saying they , "invite rape, bring on the violence to themselves, and blame the victims". With JFK being Forty years past now, let us begin to heal the past and provide Peace Corps with safe policy toward sending volunteers into service.
It starts with an attitude change at Peace Corps.
Daniel 1988-89 Mali