Friday, April 13, 2007

PCV Missing

In the Philippines a PCV has been missing since April 8. I hope they find her soon.

UPDATE: I'm adding the following to clarify this post a little bit better. I was dumb to not have done it before:

The missing PCV reminds me of an issue that has bothered me since my tour. I don't intend to relate PC security policy with her disappearance in the following.

One of my greatest concerns about Peace Corps is the skewed statistics on crime. Our group had a huge number of assaults but the majority were not reported. Volunteers have found themselves under investigation after being victimized and it is common for PCVs to keep quite. Now before any PCVs challenge that, I'm speaking from experience and personal knowledge of a wide number of unreported assaults. It is simply a fact.

There was a notorious case in South America in which a PCV had been missing for months before anybody noticed. The regional manager had evidently been filing false reports of contacting the PCV during this period. By the time the family raised enough hell to get somebody to try to track down their son, he had been missing for weeks. He was never seen again.

There is a fatal flaw in the PC system for reporting assaults and that is that there is no upside for the staff. Higher assault rates reflect poorly on the staff. So you have volunteers that are encouraged, through a policy of suspecting volunteers first, to not report when they are attacked. Other organizations have procedures to deal with this but PC doesn't and doesn't seem to be motivated to make changes.

Too bad for so many reasons.

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