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My Complaint

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Submitted By tom23
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Peace Corps Volunteers Speak Out on RapeBy SHERYL GAY STOLBERG
Published: May 10, 2011
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LinkedinDiggMySpacePermalink. WASHINGTON — 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.

Enlarge This Image Philip Scott Andrews/The New York Times
Jess Smochek, who was raped in Bangladesh in 2004, advocates for former Peace Corps volunteers who were sexually assaulted.
Times Topic: Peace Corps
Enlarge This Image Philip Scott Andrews/The New York Times
From left, Kate Finn, Meg Long and Casey Frazee of First Response Action, an advocacy group for former volunteers.
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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.”

Today, Ms. Smochek is among a growing group of former Peace Corps volunteers who are speaking out about their sexual assaults, prompting scrutiny from Congress and a pledge from the agency for reform. In going public, they are exposing an ugly sliver of life in the Peace Corps: the dangers that volunteers face in far-flung corners of the world and the inconsistent — and, some say, callous — treatment they receive when they become crime victims.

“These women are alone in many cases, and they’re in rough parts of the world,” said Representative Ted Poe,…...

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