An alleged assault victim

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AFTER reading two recent articles about sexual assaults against U.S. Peace Corps volunteers, “Peace Corps failing to protect volunteers from sexual assault, watchdog says,” (CBS News January 29, 2018,) and subsequent Peace Corps response, “Peace Corps responds to CBS News report on sexual assault” dated January 30, 2018 (links attached at the end of this letter), I was reminded of the appropriate action taken by the late Mr. Francisco Ada, a well-respected Saipan official and a District Administrator at that time, who stood strong while restraining a female Peace Corps volunteer from taking an impulsive trip alone to a Northern Islands where she only wanted to see a male volunteer for whom she had a crush. The male volunteer did not even invite her.

While sympathizing with the recent assault victims mentioned in the CBS reports, some cases may have been caused by the victims themselves. Below is my direct observation based on letters and information I have gathered.

In the case of Ms. Fay Verna Nelson, a volunteer serving in Rota in the Northern Mariana Islands Group #7 (1968 to 1970), she claimed to be an assault victim in Rota by a local man in the spring of 1969. I seriously doubt her story due to the following reasons. After the incident, she was moved by the Peace Corps to Saipan for a brief period of time. There, she started flirting with at least one U.S. male volunteer that I know about. After this volunteer left for a northern island to teach during his second year, she wrote a number of quasi-love letters to him. Her letters reflected loneliness, a sense of being lost, and sadness, while showing an interest in pursuing a relationship with this male volunteer. In her letters, she begged him to leave the island earlier and come to see her. When he did not, she approached Mr. Ada, asking him to provide a vessel to send her to the northern island to see him. Mr. Ada flatly refused on the basis that he could not allow a female volunteer to make the field trip alone just to see the male volunteer. Back in Rota, where Ms. Nelson taught (complaining that she felt she was not wanted there), she had been dating a navy man whom she went to live with after her Peace Corps service and eventually married.

My point here is that Ms. Nelson may also be responsible for the assault that happened in the spring of 1969. Joining the Peace Corps at a younger age than other volunteers without finishing her college may also have caused her trouble and loneliness during her service. The story did not end there, however. She kept on looking for this volunteer after her service and after getting married through the Peace Corps web site which was set up much later. A few years ago, before a Peace Corps reunion, she hunted him down using the Internet and did not stop contacting him until she was told not to do so. It may simply be due to her loneliness because she remains childless.

Aside from appreciating and admiring Mr. Ada, I would like to hear from the Marianas Variety readers who dealt with stateside American female volunteers and their candid experience. As a journalist, I am always willing to hear from people of both sides. Please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

KINUE WEINSTEIN
New Providence, NJ

CBS News, January 29, 2018:
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/peace-corps-failing-to-protect-volunteers-from-sexual-assault-government-watchdog

Peace Corps responds to CBS News report on sexual assault:
https://www.peacecorps.gov/news/library/peace-corps-responds-cbs-news-report-sexual-assault

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