RPCV Survivor Peer Support Now Available
The USA Today investigation about PCVs getting assaulted during service was another wake up call for the Peace Corps community. Sadly, these were not the first stories of assaults on Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs). But we hope that Peace Corps makes the effort during this reset window to ensure those are the last stories.
Unfortunately, Peace Corps only covers three free therapy sessions immediately after service. And unless your trauma was well documented during service, it could become a battle to get a FECA claim for support and healing. And you only have a limited time to make that claim. Otherwise, you are essentially on your own to find support resources.
Even though we are a full volunteer effort and already have our hands full, RPCV Health Crusade knew that we could not sit idly by. We started by expanding the RPCV-HC Resource Library with even more free and heavily discounted support resources.
Then, we collaborated with the RPCV instagram group, PeaceCorpsHR, to discuss ways to help. When every volunteer was evacuated in 2020, the RPCV-HC EPCV peer support sessions helped EPCVs find their footing. Should we assemble a similar program for survivors of Peace Corps trauma? What would it look like?
RPCV Health Crusade Survivor Peer Support Sessions Launch
This new RPCV peer support group must be exclusive to RPCVs who had traumatic experiences during their Peace Corps service. Like the EPCV Peer Support Sessions, the survivor peer support sessions will be discussion circles and not formal therapy sessions. The support is free for the RPCV community to avoid financial hurdles in the healing process.
RPCVs come together in a safe supportive space to work through their trauma together. They will support each other without judgement or blame.
RPCVs can share as much or as little as they need to. They will navigate the sessions together as a group. Even though there may be RPCVs who are health professionals, all RPCVs are participating and facilitating the sessions as peers. The group determines the pace and approach.
It is important for the group to become a cohesive supportive environment with a common goal. But these support sessions are not a good fit for everyone. So, while we invite any RPCV trauma survivor to apply to be a group participant, an RPCV from our team will reach out to help you decide.
And as with all our programs and efforts, we welcome suggestions and input from the RPCV community. How can you offer support to the RPCV trauma survivors? Can you step up to volunteer with RPCV Health Crusade on crafting and offering more programs? Will you push for change so that no future PCV will experience what the RPCV trauma survivors experienced? Give it some thought. Is it time for you to roll up your sleeves?