Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Peace Corps' history of silencing the victim in sexual assault cases


Jess Smochek arrived in Bangladesh in 2004 as a 23-year-old Peace Corps volunteer with dreams of teaching English and “helping the world.” She left six weeks later a rape victim after being brutalized in an alley by a knife-wielding gang.

When she returned to the United States, the reception she received from Peace Corps officials was as devastating, she said, as the rape itself. In Bangladesh, she had been given scant medical care; in Washington, a counselor implied that she was to blame for the attack. For years she kept quiet, feeling “ashamed and embarrassed and guilty.” [...]

1 comment :

  1. I guess the take home lesson of this article (in light of what's been covered in this blog) is that a desire for institutional preservation is all that is required for reports of sexual abuse to be systematically suppressed by an organization. I'm now inclined to think, based on this story, that religious/social conservatism is a much less important factor in contributing to a culture of silence about sexual abuse than I had previously assumed.


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