Thursday, May 2, 2013

Peace Corps volunteer’s hellish abortion story

Peace Corps volunteer’s hellish abortion story...

I wasn't planning to blog again today, but I just read about this Peace Corps Volunteer who was in Peru and was raped by her host family's cousin.  The rape resulted in pregnancy and the Peace Corps pretty much told this woman she had to pay for the abortion herself.  This isn't really news to me.  The government does not provide funds for abortions, even when they are caused by rapes.  I couldn't get an abortion at a military treatment facility, nor would it be covered by Tricare.  And abortions were not covered when I was myself a Volunteer.

Actually, though, this story brought to mind something else... rape.  I had a friend in the Peace Corps who, almost exactly seventeen years ago, was brutally assaulted and raped while walking home in her village.  I remember how the Peace Corps handled it.  The guy who committed the crime was eventually found and prosecuted.  His own mother testified against him in court.  He got nine years and probably died in the clink.

Unfortunately, Peace Corps Volunteers are definitely not immune to crime.  I was lucky.  Nothing more than occasional harassment ever happened to me.  But my friend was harassed a lot, even before she was raped.  I remember one time, her arm got broken after she was assaulted by some man who was after her.  And the woman in the above story went back to Peru and was assaulted again.

Stories like these really drive home how dangerous living abroad can be.  That being said, I'd still move abroad again in a heartbeat.


  1. I worry about the safety of the Mormon missionaries, however "voluntary" their service, particularly in third-world countries. In many humanitarian aid situations, those serving at least have the respect of the population they're serving because it's known that they're doing good. obviously that alone will not protect you, as illustrated by the examples you gave, but, for more reasons than I can couldm I'd rather take my chances being a Peace Corps member or other humanitarian aid worker than go out into the far cornersof the world as a mormon mishie. Excepting some islands in Polynesia, people living there either have no clue who the misheis ar e and riducle them for their odd ways, or the people DO have aclue who the missionaries are, don't like them, and mock them for their bizarre ways.

    Regarding rape, I cannot remember if I mentioned this (I'm becoming one of those senior citizens who tells the same stories over and over to the same audience) my family friend who goes to school year, who was in the a capella group in which I was Chava, and who played Hodel (she stepped in at the last minute and replace a no-talent actress who threw a major diva hissy fit and quit shortly before opening night) the Fiddler on the Roof production in which I was cast as Chava, attend a frat party (very stupidly, I might add) though I'm not casting stones just yet because my daysof doing stupid things may not be entirely behind me. Someone slipped something in her drink. Then the frat members did tis "thinning out the herd" thing where they got rid of all the non=pledge males in ordr toensure enough females for themselves. The young woman was found wandering around in a dirt lot in a fugue state however long later it might have been. The hospital personnel said she had defensive wounds. she was brusied, scratched up, skinned up, dirty, 9what happened may have taken place in the field, with' a bump on her forehead and two black eyes. On Law and Order SVU" and "CSI, all lab testing related to rape kits comes back in a matterof hours. In real life,it takes months. DNA was fpound in her. The amount was small enough that my guess is that a condom was used but trace amounts found their way into her system because of what happened before the condom was put on or what happened during the removal of the condom. At the time even though th eER personnel though chances were that she hadn't suffered the full rape, she was given the morning after pill and heavy antibiotics. i don't know if she was given the anit-hIV drug, but it seems like it wasn't. I don't know if testing can determine if forced oral copulation took place, especially is she showered and followed a normal hygiene routine before being tlked into seeking law enforcement assistance.

    My mom and dad,as well as my uncle who had her mother as his nanny, try to keep a closer eye on her,but she's a legal adult. She does now at least undertant that frat parties aren't like punch and cookies in the socialhall (or cultural hall if you're LDS) at the neighborhood church. She has some mental health issues anyway, as she's bi-polar and OCD, which seem to get in the way o her using common sense. she's bright, but common sense is key in looking out for oneself. her boyfriedn and brother gave the roommates who went with her to th frat party a resonable amount of grief for leaving without her. That did at least presuade "friends" to give up what they did know, but the person who di it will not be found unless he is actually caught following one of his future "date rapes" or whatever one would call it.

    this was at least partly the girl's responsibility for not looking out for herself, although I won't blame the victim. A peace corps worker should be somehow immune to such indignity.

  2. One only has to hang out on RfM for awhile and read a few of the horror stories to know that Mormon missionaries can face a lot of dangers. I don't want to present some kind of churchy image for Peace Corps Volunteers. People join for all kinds of reasons, often self-serving ones, and PCVs are not immune to engaging in risky behaviors. A lot of volunteers are young, so there can be a lot of partying and sex that goes on. And a lot of times, people think Americans are either rich or sexually loose. Unfortunately, Americans aren't always taught to keep a low profile, even though volunteers do get training that includes safety tips.

    I had a couple of scary moments when I was in Armenia, but by the grace of something, I was never a crime victim. I feel badly for this woman who was in Peru. I think the laws regarding government funds for abortions that come about due to rape ought to be changed. Either that, or maybe the Peace Corps ought to equip all the female volunteers with that device that clamps on to a rapist's penis and forces them to go to a hospital to get it removed. (I'm only half joking about this, unfortunately)

  3. If such devices really exist, I'm not even half-joking about equipping female volunteers with them in locales that are perilous for women in particular. I'm 1000%in favor.

    The devices probably shouldn't be available to the general population because of people like Jodi Arias and your husband's ex, who ruin things for the rest of us. Otherwise , what a handy gadget for anyone in danger of being raped.

  4. It does exist. The below article has a photo.


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