Protect Peace Corps Volunteers: Back Anti-Sexual Violence Legislation
  • Petitioned President of the United States

This petition was delivered to:

President of the United States

Protect Peace Corps Volunteers: Back Anti-Sexual Violence Legislation

    1. Petition by

      First Response Action

  1.  
  2.   
November 2011

Victory

On November 29, 2011, President Obama signed the Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act into law, named for a volunteer murdered after reporting the sexual assault of female students.

More than 5,000 Change.org members signed a petition to Congress and the Peace Corps started by First Response Action, an organization founded by volunteer and sexual assault survivor Casey Frazee. The reasons for signing left on the petition by current and former volunteers and their loved ones, including family of Kate Puzey, were successfully presented to the Peace Corps to gain its support for policy change at a hearing in May.

The new legislation will address high rates of sexual assault within the Peace Corps and a criticized "blame-the-victim" mentality, an important change to help the thousands of volunteers who join every year. Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen presented framed copies of the legislation to to RPCV survivors who spoke at the May hearing, including petition creator Casey Frazee.

The United States Peace Corps serves in more than 70 countries around the world.  For most of the last decade, the Peace Corps lacked formalized, written policies or protocol in place to respond to incidents of sexual and physical assault committed against Peace Corps Volunteers.  This despite the fact that, according to Peace Corps statistics, more than 1,000 incidents of rape and sexual assault have been reported by Volunteers since 2000. As a historically underreported crime, this number represents only a fraction of actual cases of sexual violence.

While advocacy and media attention have been effective in creating initial steps to improve Peace Corps response to violent crime, the current policy does not reflect best practices in the field of sexual assault response.

First Response Action, a group founded by a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who is a sexual assault survivor and managed by a board of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, has drafted legislation which would address the issue of sexual violence in Peace Corps in five key areas:

1.    Enhanced Volunteer Safety and Security Training

2.    Enhanced Response to Incidents Involving Physical and Sexual Assaults

3.    Establishment of Victim Advocates

4.    Establishment of Sexual Assault Protocol Advisory Council

5.    Commission of a Historical Report by the Office of the Inspector General

Sign this petition to stand with First Response Action in calling for the immediate adoption of this proposed legislation.  In honor of Peace Corps' 50th anniversary this year, we are looking to get at least 5,050 signatures!  More information about First Response Action can be found at www.firstresponseaction.org.

*This petition is open to all and we appreciate signatures from everybody! If you are a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, we would appreciate it if you could also leave a comment identifying yourself as such, and giving your country and year, in addition to signing.

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Bill Passes Congress!

      Yesterday, the House UNANIMOUSLY voted to pass this legislation! Having already passed the Senate, all that's left now is Obama's signature. Stayed tuned for the final victory!

    2. Call your Senator and ask them to support Kate Puzey's law!

      Has your Senator co-sponsored The Kate Puzey Peace Corps Safety and Security Act yet? Follow this link for a list of the Foreign Affairs Committee members in the House and Senate who have yet to sign on and to give them a call with your support.

    3. Legislation for Peace Corps reform to be introduced tomorrow!

      Legislation to improve sexual assault response at the Peace Corps will be introduced in the House and Senate tomorrow. Let your Congressperson know that you expect them to support this bill!

    4. Reached 5 signatures
    5. Success! Peace Corps Supports Anti-Sexual Violence Legislation

      Survivors told their stories of rape and victim-blaming. A heartbroken mother recalled her daughter, killed for speaking out against sexual assault. These were the moving testimonies given at Wednesday's House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing...

    6. Reached 4 signatures
    7. First Response Action founder Casey Frazee in the New York Times about her Congressional testimony today:

    8. Kate Puzey, a Peace Corps Volunteer, was murdered after her accusation of sexual assault was leaked. Her parents found few answers from an organization that went into damage control instead:

    9. Harvard and Columbia professor to testify about her rape as a Peace Corps Volunteer:

    10. Peace Corps Volunteer Speaks Out About Lacking Sexual Assault Response

      I breathed in the fresh ocean air rolling up from the expanse of the Atlantic Ocean while standing on top of Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa. I was thousands of feet off the ground, gazing at one of the most marvelous sites in the world....

    11. Reached 3 signatures
    12. Returned Volunteers Group Calls on Peace Corps to Fix Lacking Rape Response

      Casey Frazee arrived in South Africa in 2009 as an eager young Peace Corps Volunteer, honored to be a part of an organization known for doing good around the world.
      But after her sexual assault, Casey discovered a glaring flaw in the organization she...

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Bonny Stroebel PRETORIA, UNITED STATES
      • almost 3 years ago

      My mind cannot even try to comprehend the darkness of these sick peoples minds!!!! How can we possibly tolerate this evil. It needs to stop! all of it and Justice needs to happen- http://www.change.org/petitions/the-south-african-justice-system-to-sentence-rapists-to-50years-to-life-imprisonment-no-less?share_id=sLikJaJwOW&pe=ws

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Yvonne Fast AALBORG, DENMARK
      • almost 3 years ago

      When working in the Peace Corps one should not think that sexual violence should be a part of it. so a legislation against it must be the least one can do!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Susan Adkins COATS, NC
      • over 3 years ago

      Women who left the Peace Corp b/c of rape/molestation were told to tell new recruits they were leaving for 'dental' reasons, so as not to spook the newbies. This has GOT to stop!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Moira Hill SANTA ROSA, CA
      • over 3 years ago

      During my PC service, I saw and heard about this kind of behavior perpetrated with 2 different volunteers - it was shocking and traumatic. It was completely outrageous then and still is now, and that not only is it still being tolerated, the local PC staff/counselors are so woefully behind the times in responding. They need a much more compassionate and active advocacy approach to protecting and treating our PC victims of assault and violence.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Joselle Ho MARINA DEL REY, CA
      • over 3 years ago

      Protect those who work to make the world a better place.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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