Professor Kept Her Secret Until '20/20' Report on Assaults Against Peace Corps Women


Koenen to Testify Before Congress

Koenen is one of three former Peace Corps volunteer rape victims who will be testifying on May 11 before the House Committee on Foreign Relations. In the wake of the "20/20" report, members of Congress decided to probe the way Peace Corps has handled the more than 1,000 reported incidents of sexual assault and rape of volunteers over the last decade.

The Peace Corps declined direct comment on Koenen's account of her experiences while a volunteer, but said that the victims of sexual assault deserve nothing but compassion and support.

"We apologize for any additional pain the agency inflicted on our volunteers," said a spokesperson. "The Peace Corps of today takes the issue of sexual assault prevention and response seriously and we are dedicated to providing compassionate victim-centered care."

"Under Director Aaron Williams' leadership, the agency has implemented a number of measures to expand our ability and commitment to prevent and respond to sexual assaults. We are united in our efforts with returned volunteers, outside organizations, and leaders in the field of sexual assault awareness to further strengthen our global operations and support for the thousands of volunteers serving around the world," said the spokesperson.

In 2008, Peace Corps created a Sexual Assault Working Group (SAWG). This group is in the process of completing a comprehensive sexual assault and rape prevention and response program, and has been working with experts across the federal government in addition to national advocacy groups, according to the Peace Corps.

The Peace Corps signed a "Memorandum of Understanding" with the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization in March of this year.

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A Peace Corps spokesperson said the organization will never be able to eliminate volunteers' exposure to crimes overseas, but that it "will continue to do its best to make Peace Corps a safe and productive experience for the Americans serving today and the future."

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