Local Reaction to ABC Peace Corps Report
GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - A special report on ABC's "20/20" Friday night featured several former volunteers who say they were sexually assaulted while serving for the Peace Corps in foreign countries.
The investigation suggested that officials with Peace Corps ignored complaints from those volunteers.
Ron Woldyk of Grand Rapids volunteered with the Peace Corps. He served in Liberia during the early 1980's. He says he was prepared for the challenge.
"For me, the experience was good," says Woldyk.
However, Woldyk says he remembers one of his fellow volunteers being attacked.
"There was one person within our group that came over that was evacuated because of rape," recollects Woldyk. "Within the society, the Peace Corps women did have it tougher in that way, in sort of a male dominated society; it was a little harder for them."
Despite the recent reports and occasional risky situation, Woldyk says he is pleaed to have served such a good cause.
"It was a very challenging experience... challenging in terms of getting used to different customs, different ways of life," he says. "For me, it was a very enriching experience."
WZZM 13 contacted the national press office for the Peace Corps, whom declined to comment directly, but did release this statement:
"Peace Corps manages a comprehensive approach to volunteer safety and security. We are always working to improve and strengthen our training and operations for our staff and volunteers abroad. We will never be able to entirely eliminate volunteers' exposure to crimes overseas, but we will continue to do our best to make Peace Corps a safe and productive experience for the Americans serving as volunteers today and in the future."
Established by President John F. Kennedy in 1961, the Peace Corps is internationally recognized as an organization aimed at promoting world peace and friendship.