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Resource ID: #20926
Source:Daily News (Dayton, Ohio)
A nearly-two year long investigation by the Dayton Daily News discovered widespread violence, including murders, against volunteers in the Peace Corps. "They have died at the rate of about one every two months since 1962," and "reported incidents of assault on volunteers more than doubled since 1991," with women the prime targets of such attacks. This seven-part series -- based on interviews with more than 500 people in nearly a dozen countries and a crime incident database obtained from the Peace Corps after a lengthy court battle -- reveals a disturbing pattern of unsafe conditions that were long masked or even covered up by the Peace Corps. In ten death cases examined by the Daily News, the paper found the "Peace Corps misled families, the public or other volunteers about the circumstances of the deaths." The Corps' policies resulted in sending ill-trained volunteers "alone to some of the most dangerous corners of the world where they may be unsupervised for months on end." These volunteers, frequently young people fresh out of school, receive little to no training about what they will encounter and how to stay safe. The newspaper's investigation also found the behavior of Peace Corps volunteers themselves often puts them at risk. "Alcohol was identified as a factor in nearly one in three assaults since 1999," and "in more than half of the reported rapes since 1990, the attacker was identified as a 'friend/acquaintance.'"