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Gina...almost an anagram of Inge, but not quite [userpic]
Choosing a region--safety-wise
by Gina...almost an anagram of Inge, but not quite (orb_scholar)
at October 2nd, 2010 (08:30 pm)

Hi, my name is Gina, and I've wanted to do Peace Corps for a long time. I'm doing the application now and I'm getting to the part of preferencing a region. As much as I idealize things, I also do crazy things like read statistics and google worst case scenerios, etc. :). Anyway I know there was just recently a question about dangers in the Peace Corps, but I too am worried about various types of assault especially against women such as rape, which are simply more statistically probable in the Peace than in most areas of the U.S. (0.45 for every 100 vs 1.3 for every 1000, I mean that's a big difference!!!)

Anyway, let me get to my actual questions.

1. As much as I want to volunteer, I want to make my own safety a priority, especially if I have troubles with the administration. I know that where you actually end up going is sort of left up to the hands of fate, how would you rank the regions in terms of safety, also perhaps factoring in disease etc.? (I realize this is a difficult questions since there are multiple countries in each region). Are there any areas/countries you would refuse to go if you were stationed there? What are the worst places in terms of crime etc.? Note I have already read the crime statistic report from multiple years, but in a way it's hard to get a clear picture from that because it's just so much info.

2. Would you say that with most places, these crimes against PCV are fairly preventable (not in a blame the victim kind of way), but as in, if you engage in certain behaviors and avoid others, can you make the experience a lot safer?

3. Know this has been answered, but would you say that the PC is a lot more dangerous than other endeavors one may take?


Posted by: Brad (brbrbrad)
Posted at: October 3rd, 2010 04:18 am (UTC)
Only in Kenya

I'm curious what your source is for the rape statistics (0.45 for every 100 vs .13 for every 100)

Are those figures age-adjusted? To really compare apples to apples, you would need to consider that women in the Peace Corps tend to be younger, so it isn't really accurate to compare rapes among women of all ages in the US to women in the Peace Corps, the majority of whom are ages 22-30.

Also, I would imagine rapes in the Peace Corps are less likely to go unreported than rapes among the general population of the US, where only around 40% of rapes get reported. If your .13/100 figure isn't accounting for that, the real number could be much higher.

My job involves a lot of data analysis, in case you were wondering :-)

Posted by: Danielle (mokey4)
Posted at: October 3rd, 2010 04:23 am (UTC)

Wow- just wow. Nice job, I love a good statistical de-bunking.

Posted by: Gina...almost an anagram of Inge, but not quite (orb_scholar)
Posted at: October 3rd, 2010 03:04 pm (UTC)

Thanks, this is really a good point! It just seemed like a big difference, but these are probably two major factors in that. :)

Posted by: Danielle (mokey4)
Posted at: October 3rd, 2010 04:32 am (UTC)

This is totally based on personal bias and anecdotes, and I invite others to tell my why I am completely wrong. But here we go: I think Latin America probably has the worst sexual assault record, based on what I've heard from friends who have served there. That said, it really does vary from country to country and even a lot within countries- like for instance, living in a village is probably safer than living in a city, no matter which region you're in.

I served in Ghana, where sexual harassment was an issue but as far as I know we didn't have any actual cases of assault. And I think a lot of African countries are like that... but then again you really can't generalize about Africa- the place is huge and full of very different cultures and political situations.

I personally felt a LOT safer in Ghana than I did living in NYC most of my life. I also felt less safe in Washington DC.

As far as I'm concerned the biggest health/safety issues in PC are not related to crime- they are car accidents and maybe diseases in certain places.

Posted by: Gina...almost an anagram of Inge, but not quite (orb_scholar)
Posted at: October 3rd, 2010 03:11 pm (UTC)

Yeah, I've lived in LA for four years, and where I went to school there, there were actually several rapes, sexual assaults, and armed robberies, so I guess it's comparable.

I have a question also about car accidents if you know. Are there more car accidents in the PC then here for example? This prob will sound ignorant, but is it hard to find vehicles with seat belts etc. Do most regions have buses as opposed to just taxis, etc.? I hate riding in cars in general lol. I was hoping I could escape that for a while.

Posted by: Danielle (mokey4)
Posted at: October 3rd, 2010 06:44 pm (UTC)

I don't know the stats, but I believe that there are more car accidents in developing countries. The roads are in poor condition, vehicles are old and not well maintained, and seatbelts- HA! That is a joke. And yeah, most places you'll be relying on buses. I think most PC assignments don't involve a lot of car/bus travel on a day-to-day basis, but whenever you want to visit someone or go treat yourself to a day in the city you'll need to ride transportation. And in some places that is very scary. There were at least 2 PCVs in my group involved in accidents- one was pretty seriously injured, but didn't need to go home. She broke her collar bone and was scraped up quite a bit. I think part of the problem is the poor quality of hospitals & emergency care out in the hinterlands. It's just a mess.

Posted by: bleeder of hands, dancer of churches (sunsetscreamer)
Posted at: October 3rd, 2010 05:36 am (UTC)

Umm peace corps doesn't much care which regions you put down as your preferred regions (they did give me my third choice, though).

I don't think anyone is any more likely to be assaulted in PC than they are in America. As women we always need to be cautious! Personally I was sexually harassed a lot during peace corps, especially in taxis, but never had any crime happen to me other than my shoes stolen.

I will tell you this, however: that rule about peace corps always putting you in a room with a locked door in a host family is kind of a myth.

Posted by: Gina...almost an anagram of Inge, but not quite (orb_scholar)
Posted at: October 3rd, 2010 03:14 pm (UTC)

Good to know. I heard most volunteers live alone? Do the doors not usually have locks either?

Posted by: bleeder of hands, dancer of churches (sunsetscreamer)
Posted at: October 3rd, 2010 03:41 pm (UTC)

I don't know if most volunteers live alone. Volunteers in central asia and at least some of eastern europe live with host families and also some of the islands. My door in my room had no lock. My second host family was pretty fabulous, I'm just saying I can see how this would be a problem for someone with a less awesome host family or lots of house guests.

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