Some very brave members of our community are sharing their experiences with sexual assault in the Peace Corps. Emma Tremblay, who curates the Instagram page @PeaceCorpsHR that shares hundreds of stories of trauma RPCVs have experienced is in the article and video, and has written below more information and ways to take action to push Peace Corps to overhaul how sexual assault is handled in the agency. If you need support or would like to share your own experience please email [email protected].
Q: I have been working for an office that will not be named, in the HR department. It has become impossible for me to ignore the jockeying for position through gossip and passive aggressive in-fighting. My goal is to get out of there ASAP, but I have a philosophical question. When the HR department is the bad actor, who can you report them to?
Q:There's a theory that in an office environment, facetime with management is a key for successful promotions. Is that still true and how does that work now that I'm working remotely? What are some ways I can make sure that management is seeing my hard work without "seeing" it?
Q: I've just started a new position and I am excited for my first professional job. However I am finding it difficult to relate to my much more experienced coworkers and supervisor. Any help fitting in in my first professional job? Especially now that we are virtual?
Girls? As we celebrate Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, I think back on my Peace Corps service. GLOW, “Girls leading our world,” is a Peace Corps program running across the world for more than 20 years, aimed at several different goals, but during my service in Thailand, it focused on gender empowerment and equality. The camp’s purpose was to teach gender, sexual health, and teamwork to all gendered students. I brought a group of students to two GLOW camps during my service. The camp’s impact on my students was generally positive, giving them a space to learn in a different and non-binary way. However, there is a ton of irony in Americans attempting to teach gender and sexual equality. As of March 2021, there are71 bills targeting trans people, and half ban trans girls from participating in sports aligning with their gender. State governments continue to attack reproductive health access for women, while U.S. White women still make $0.79 to the $1.00 that White men make; Hispanic or Latinx women make $0.54. On top of all that, we have a Congresswoman who’d rather preach “binary gender” instead of protecting the most vulnerable with whom her party majority favors. Given that, my suggestion is that before the U.S. preaches gender equality at Peace Corps camps, it takes some time to realize its gaps. In the meantime, Peace Corps should own up to the gaps and work with countries abroad to address problems together. We as Peace Corps Volunteers should be learning from the communities abroad before asserting solutions that are intricate, country-specific, culturally specific, and nonuniform. Have thoughts? Join the conversation using #RPCVLessonLearned.
Peace Corps Week is a celebration of the best of service. It highlights that as Peace Corps volunteers, we were theoretically able to make a difference or, dare even say, change the world. I don’t believe I changed the world, but I think I made intentional relationships and created space for youth to learn. My valuable memories include the community bike ride/trash clean-ups we organized, the groups of students we brought to GLOW camps, most leaving the province for the first time. I cherish the times when I did yoga with the elderly and supported the community’s holiday events. Most of all, I remember when a few of my students cried when I told them that I thought they were smart, beautiful, and community leaders. I cried too. Yet, I have a lot of regrets about my service. I regret the moments that I haggled over $1 in the market, the times when I got frustrated at people on the bus just wanting to practice their English, and the days where I’d rather be in my bedroom than at the community funeral. I regret the money I spent on a Peace Corps dog and trips around Thailand, the pictures I posted on FB of my community events, the moments I complained about the 10-mile bike ride to get peanut butter, and every single minute that I felt sorry for myself during service. I believe that Peace Corps needs significant changes. What change looks like, everything from abolishment to reassessing the goals, is still contentious within the RPCV community. But something that we can each do this week is evaluate how our privilege impacted our service, positively and negatively. The regrets above are rooted in the privilege I held as a PCV and how I was not responsible for using it to benefit the Na-Or community in Thailand. I urge you to think back this week and say them out loud. We aren’t perfect, but our best indication of morality is to no longer hide behind the delusion of absolute altruistic intent as volunteers. Join the conversation by sharing your story. Please leave a comment below or share on social media using #RPCVLessonLearned
Do you want to apply your talents to the growth of a membership organization? Do you want to be part of a community that embodies the spirit of Peace Corps? Do you want to be challenged, learn a ton of stuff, have a lot of fun, and make a significant impact? The Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington D.C. (RPCV/W), a nonprofit organization, is looking for stellar leaders to take on the volunteer role of Vice President on its Board of Directors.