Abortion Or Quit: Raped Peace Corps Volunteer Forced To Choose
Carol Clark says after rape she was forced to have an abortion or go home.
May 10, 2011 — -- A Peace Corps volunteer who says she became pregnant after a Peace Corps employee raped her alleges that Peace Corps officials forced her to make a choice: get an abortion or quit the organization.
"I was not pro-choice until that moment," said Carol Clark, now a schoolteacher in North Carolina, who says she was devastated that the organization she trusted treated her so callously.
Clark says she has come forward to tell her story after more than 25 years because of an ABC News "20/20" report about former Peace Corps volunteers who allege that they were mistreated by the Peace Corps after they were victims of sexual assault while serving overseas.
"When I saw the young women speaking about the callous way the Peace Corps treated them, I was stunned this was still happening today," Clark told ABC News. "I never dreamed I would tell my story, but I don't want five, 10, 15 years to go by and still hear about this." Clark and other sexual assault victims will testify before Congress at a hearing Wednesday to probe what critics call an inadequate response to violence against Peace Corps volunteers.
Clark was an idealistic 22-year-old from a devout Christian family when she went to serve in Nepal as a Peace Corps volunteer in 1984. "It was my life dream to be in the Peace Corps, my life goal to help others," she said.
Clark said she was raped by a Peace Corps employee just three months after she arrived in the country, and just one week after swearing in as a fully trained volunteer.
She recounted how the man allegedly came into her hotel room and raped her when she was physically incapable of fighting him off after a night of drinking at a party for Peace Corps volunteers and staff.
"I could not bear that feeling that this monster was raping me, there was such a sense of horror attached to it," said Clark. Clark said she reported the assault to a Peace Corps medical officer, but was brushed aside and told that since it happened after a raucous party, it was her fault.
She said a government official tried to drag her back to his home "to have fun like you had with your Peace Corps friend," but she escaped.