"I felt safe in Peace Corps," tweeted Laugh2Survive, "but knew firsthand of a number of other volunteers w/cause to be afraid & were not helped when they told [Peace Corps]."
"I loved Peace Corps and wld do it again," tweeted Ms Mela, "but this is unforgiveable."
But the ABC News report also spurred strong defenses from current and former Peace Corps volunteers.
Alyssa Moles, a former volunteer in Chad, said she was angry about the lack of positive perspectives in the ABC News report. She wrote on Twitter that she had experienced a terrifying incident while serving and was "extremely impressed with Peace Corps support." She also said she knew of robberies and of a fellow volunteer who had been assaulted -- and yet extended her service for a third year.
On the Peace Corps' Facebook page, volunteer Mary Kuhlke wrote from the village in Malawi where she is serving that she hadn't yet been able to see the "20/20" report, but wanted readers to know that "we're not simply left out here to dry. . . . Give PC and its directors a little more credit."
A vigorous defense of the Peace Corps by former Cameroon volunteer Wendy Lee was quoted in an AOL Politics Daily article on the ABC News report and sparked on-line expressions of support from other volunteers. In her blog, Lee said she regretted that the report would leave the impression with would-be volunteers that " 'you are now going to go live in a hut in the middle of nowhere with no reseources AND you will probably get raped and killed? That's insane. No thanks.'"
Wrote Lee, "The reality is, Peace Corps takes safety and security extremely seriously. So much so, we often felt like we were being over-protected. Before we even got on the plane, we went through sessions where we were made aware of cases of robbery, rape, and various unfortunate events. Peace Corps gave us the statistics that were definitely downright frightening to a group of people who had little idea on what they were getting themselves into. Throughout our training and the rest of our service, safety and security were top priority."
"Well written," responded mbaexperiment via Twitter. "I wish you would have been interviewed on 20/20."
"As a woman who served in the Peace Corps, I always felt that the organization was looking out for my safety & wellbeing even when I wasn't."
ChirimoyaKris said, "Peace Corps is the safest volunteer org. I felt overprotected at times."
But Moles, while defending the Peace Corps, noted that the ABC News report came on the heels of news of the failing health of founding director Sargent Shriver, who helmed the organization when it launched under JFK 50 years ago, and the agency's decision to evacuate the country of Niger.
"It's been a crappy week for Peace Corps," she said.
ABC News' Lee Ferran contributed to this report.