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Author Topic: Safety and Security  (Read 1624 times)


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Safety and Security
« on: October 30, 2013, 07:02:52 PM »
My family and friends (who initially knew very little about the PC and have not known a previous volunteer) are SERIOUSLY concerned about my health and safety. I told them that you have to have common sense when it comes to traveling to a developing country but I also know that PC provides you with safety and cultural training to avoid potentially dangerous situations.

My family's concerns coupled with the stories I have read about attempted rapes/assaults and even the murder of Kate Puzey (http://www.coopercrier.com/local/local_story_078082546.html) have all started to intimidate me and have me really question my readiness and willingness to put myself in danger...

I was wondering
-Is it a legitimate concern to be afraid of something seriously dangerous happening, especially if assigned to a country in Africa?
-Do any RPCV have any stories about near assault/dangerous situations that came about during your 2 years of service?
-How safe do you feel as a PCV in your community, especially as a woman?
-Any advice???

Offline Amelia.Plant

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  • Posts: 39
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  • PC Status: RPCV
Re: Safety and Security
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2013, 07:53:48 AM »
There is hardly any reason to be seriously concerned about health and safety.  The risk to HIV or other STDs is only as high as the behaviors you engage in.  The stories about PC not being very responsive about sexual assault are outdated, as of now.  I know a few people who have been victims of different crimes (not necessarily assaults, but gropings, robberies etc) and PC is very supportive.  They help you deal with the local police and support you throughout the whole process.  That being said, these occurrences are rare.  It is like going anywhere: if you go to NYC, you learn which places you can go at night and which to avoid.  Same thing with any developing country.  Obviously as a foreigner, you will be more of a target than a local.  But it really depends on where you go.  I felt very safe in my community.  And the more you integrate into your village, the more locals will want to protect you.  Obviously things can still happen.  But they also happen in the states.  But like you said, Peace Corps gives a lot of training on risk management and crime mitigation.
RPCV, Botswana 2011-2013

Offline sjbirkhead

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  • Posts: 7
  • PC Status: RPCV
Re: Safety and Security
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2013, 11:55:19 AM »
During training you will receive a great deal of information on safety and security.   If you follow these guidelines, you will most likely have no problems.  It is important to get integrated in your community and definitely 'get to know' your neighbors.  If villagers know you they tend to protect you and watch out for you. 
I lived in a small village and I never had any problems at all.  No one ever tried to break into my house even though I was isolated and near the 'bush'!  I rarely went out after dark and if I was I was escorted back to my house. 
There is danger everywhere in the world.  Don't let this keep you from having the experience of the Peace Corps.

Offline shawn

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  • Posts: 85
    • Pack.It.Up Adventures
  • PC Status: RPCV
Re: Safety and Security
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2013, 12:37:58 PM »
I would just like to reiterate what the other two just said. Peace Corps is as safe as you make it, weather in Africa or otherwise (which is a total stereotype with very little, if any, verifiable data that makes the region less safe than the others). I serve in Rwanda and, while things do happen, are stats are much lower than even I would have thought.

that said, your safety does rest majorly on common sense and adequate preparedness. Integrate into your community, be alert when in larger cities, and generally keep your head about you and you've got very little to be concerned about.
PCVL - Rwanda 2010-2013
NPCA Serving Volunteer Advisory Council