On Monday, November 21st, 2011 at 3PM President Obama officially signed the Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act into law at a signing ceremony in the Oval Office with the Puzey family, coalition allies, and the Peace Corps leadership. It was an amazing and surreal final culmination of a long campaign that has taken years to fulfill and was born of great sorrow... although Kate will always be dearly missed, we know that she would be proud to see that her legacy will greatly improve protections for future Peace Corps Volunteers and indeed likely save other lives. As President Obama stated, "Out of great tragedy has come great good."
The new law marks the most substantial reform of the Peace Corps since its inception: it will require the Peace Corps to establish an Office of Victims Advocacy, greatly improve both prevention and response training for sexual assaults, establish much stronger whistle blower and related confidentiality protections for Volunteers, appoint Sexual Assault Response Liaisons in each country to support victims, and require ongoing oversight by both Congress and a newly appointed Sexual Assault Advisory Council that will include leading external experts in the field of sexual violence and victim support. For full text of the law, please click here.
(the picture above is featured as the White House 'Picture of the Day' for November 21st)
Here is some of the media coverage:
Atlanta Journal Constitution
National Peace Corps Association
International Business Times
Arizona Daily Star
San Jose Mercury News