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].
Emma writes: "Even more Peace Corps Volunteer survivors aren't in this article because it still isn't safe to talk openly about sexual assault, or the systematic issues in the Peace Corps. To openly criticize the Peace Corps as a survivor is to risk losing job opportunities, respect, and the support of the 240,000 Returned Peace Corps Volunteers who are supposed to be our community.
I'm writing this publicly because I hope that anyone who sees this will stand with us. Many of us spent years trying to fix the Peace Corps from within. I started trying to solve the problems I saw when I first joined the agency in 2018, and have worked for the last four years to ensure that what the Peace Corps did to me will never happen to anyone else.
I've talked to hundreds of staff, trainees, and Volunteers about their experiences working for the Peace Corps. You can find some of their stories on the Instagram account I manage, @PeaceCorpsHR. They're how I know that this article is not causing any damage to the Peace Corps. The damage is already there. All we're doing is pointing out the cracks in the foundation.
Sex- and gender-based violence is just one facet of the issues within the Peace Corps. @DecolonizingPC on Instagram goes into depth on issues of race, neocolonialism, and "development." They have made posts touching on queerphobia, ableism, and other forms of discrimination as well. I urge you to learn from their posts, read the @PeaceCorpsHR stories, and try to understand the enormity of the issues Volunteers are currently facing in our efforts to reform or abolish the Peace Corps.
If you're looking for concrete action to take, please consider calling or writing to your congressperson. A coalition of RPCVs has been working on healthcare reform for over five years; their bill in Congress, H.R. 1456, would grant whistleblower protections to Volunteers, along with many other vital benefits. If you are an RPCV, contact Peace Corps HQ on social media or by email. Tell them you won't rejoin, or recommend service to anyone else, without meaningful change. And above all else, listen to marginalized Volunteers. "
Peace Corps' response: