What’s Wrong with the World

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Putting Our Women in Harm's Way

No, not in war, but in the Peace Corps. An investigation by ABC's 20/20 claims that "More than 1,000 young American women have been raped or sexually assaulted in the last decade while serving as Peace Corps volunteers in foreign countries," and that some of the victims say "the Peace Corps has ignored safety concerns and later tried to blame the women who were raped for bringing on the attacks... Jess Smochek, 29, of Pennsylvania was gang raped in Bangladesh in 2004 by a group of young men after she says Peace Corps officials in the country ignored her pleas to re-locate her." These attacks have happened in Benin, Bangladesh, Haiti, South Africa, Georgia, and many other places.

The figures are pretty startling: "Between 2000 and 2009, Peace Corps figures show there were 221 rapes or attempted rapes, 147 major sexual attacks and 719 other sexual assaults—defined as unwanted or forced kissing, fondling or groping.

According to the figures, there is a yearly average of 22 rapes. There were 15 in the year for which the figures are most recently available, 2009."

The show's main segment focuses on the story of Kate Puzey, who sent an email to the Peace Corp's headquarters in Benin complaining about a native Peace Corps employee accused of raping some of Kate's 7th grade students. Though the employee was dismissed, Kate's request of confidentiality for her role in bringing it about was betrayed, and she was later found on the front porch of her house with her throat slit. Her family says that the Peace Corps has not been forthcoming with details, and that Kate's belongings were returned to them by a delivery man, who unceremoniously dumped them in the driveway.

And there is something creepily insincere in the responses of Peace Corps deputy director Carrie Hessler-Radelet, who says, "There are volunteers who have been assaulted or raped who actually do speak kindly of Peace Corps." This was in reaction to being shown a video of six other girls who came forward and told their stories on the show.

If you missed it and have the leisure, go here. In the sidebar to the right of the player are segment titles which should be watched in this order:
1. Why would anyone kill Kate?
2. Peace Corps worked to keep scandal quiet
3. Women Raped While in the Peace Corps

There is also a four page article beginning here.


Comments (10)


Thanks for writing about this. Just this weekend over at my own blog, I took note of Gail Collins's book, "When Everything Changed", particularly the images on the cover and the pictures section. The last photograph in the picture segment of the book is of Lori Priestawa who (I was unaware of this) was the first women to be killed in action in the Iraq conflict. Oddly, Colllins seems to present this as evidence of, ahem, progress.


Another horrifying story . . . Most definitely will pass on to any of my students who say the words "Peace Corps" . . .

Somewhat parallel type of situation, for which I don't at the moment have a link: It's a known phenomenon that young Western women who go as "peace activists" to the "West Bank" have not only been raped but in some cases have been forced into marriages by Arab men there and sometimes have not gotten back out. Naturally, the "peace" organizations that recruit them are not eager for this to be known.

There's something about third-world men and Western women. Might be that they don't have that Christian idea that women are supposed to be treated well. Might be that their cultures encourage the ill-treatment of women.

I have to wonder, though: how does this stack up against the general population?

Lydia, that's also what came to my mind.
here>/a> and here. Bunch of links at those sites. Here's a quote from one of the links:
It turns out, she explains, that when female peace activists from Israel and abroad come out to Judea and Samaria and demonstrate against the Israeli “occupation,” they are assaulted sexually by the Arab men whom they have come to help. These are not isolated incidents, Aloni-Sedovnik stresses. Rather, this is an “ongoing and widespread” phenomenon that includes verbal and physical abuse. She accuses the ‘peace’ camp of purposely covering up the trend so as not to offend “the Palestinians and their heritage, which sees women as sexual objects.”

This is a shocking but not a surprising disclosure.

Just who or what is putting women in harm's way? They are idealistic volunteers who want to serve their fellow men in poverty-stricken environments. But what's putting them in harm's way is a delusion - circulated by another insane feminist notion - that women ought to take the same physical risks as men. In the places where these attacks happened, Western women in fact run much bigger risks than men.

Thanks for writing on this story. The people who run the Peace Corps have these values. This is their doing and what they believe in. That means the Peace Corps has to be abolished.

Alex, remember, though that they've been trained to this kind of pseudo-religious idealism since earliest youth. The public schools are now gearing up big-time for the whole "volunteerism" thing; the federal administration is pushing public schools to have X percent of their children involved in "community organizer" type stuff. The honors program of our local university just this past year started requiring community service as part of the honors program, even though it isn't an academic thing at all. To me, it seems that this is related to the whole Peace Corps concept, even though one is domestic and one is foreign. I'm not saying there's something wrong with helping out at a local mission or something of that kind; I am saying that it's being turned into a kind of secular passion by our creepy leaders, and they are putting that kind of passion for activism and worldwide do-gooding onto kids from whom they have stripped away all other religious commitments and values. Meanwhile, young women are taught that they can "do anything" and "be anything," that they don't need to be protected, and multiculturalism teaches young people that the inhabitants of other countries are more noble than Americans anyway, and you have a recipe for Buffy the Good going off to Third-World Hell with high-hearted idealism, the Peace Corps, and zero effective protection and getting herself raped and killed. It's...nuts.


I watched the 20/20 episode and I must say that the experiences that these volunteers went through are truly upsetting. At the same time, while I do not defend the government's responses to these tragedies, I believe that the show was in many was a gross mischaracterization of Peace Corps, it's mission, the staff, and the experiences of the thousands of volunteers that have served. Additionally, the show leads viewers to believe that all less developed countries are teeming with violence. Perhaps 20/20 should make an attempt to be balanced by covering violence in America.

Have any of you served in the Peace Corps or actually conducted any research before forming your opinions?

Remember when NASA found a woman, Christa McAuliffe, Mother of four young children, eager to place herself in harm's way by entering training to be an Astronaut and then, subsequently blasting-off and then blowing-up on The Space Shuttle?

She had to abandon Mothering her offspring so she could complete the training and qualify to go on the Shuttle because, as you well know, being an Astronaut is more important than being a Mother.

What is it about Liberalism that results in mostly young white women making such horrible decisions and becoming victims?

I think Mr. Auster has it nailed about Liberalism -

Liberal society is a factory for the production of dead young white women

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