I’m a Sexual Assault Survivor, and for That I Will Not be an AmeriCorps Member

For many soon to be college-graduates, the unfolding of the final year of college holds literally endless opportunities. My dream was to serve with AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps, the national full-time public service program.

I knew purposefully dedicating one year — a small portion of my life — to serving my country was my best choice. I couldn’t have been happier when I was offered a position to serve as support team leader, based in the Mississippi office. I thought, this is what I’ve worked so hard for, and now I can work hard for others.

But then it was suddenly ripped away from me through no fault of my own.

More about the case

When AmeriCorps NCCC offers you an opportunity for any position, they require you to fill out a very detailed medical form that requests every little bit of your medical history, including whether you have ever obtained therapy. I listed my prescription and vitamins, the fact that I had been treated for strep throat, and that, yes, I had received counseling for anxiety.

During my final year of college, I experienced what too many college students have, especially women. I was sexually groped by a co-worker, and in the weeks following the assault, I experienced anxiety around men I did not know. As a social work student and having a background working with sexual assault survivors, I knew receiving counseling would be in my best interest.

Like a “check-up,” I decided to seek professional advice to ensure that my anxiety was normal and that the coping skills I was using were more than adequate. I participated in three sessions of counseling, and I successfully continued to work at a sexual violence shelter, maintained a 4.0 GPA, and graduated on time without issue.

Standing in a Walmart produce aisle in May, I received a phone call that would snatch away my AmeriCorps NCCC opportunity only weeks before it was set to begin. I was told that I would not be permitted to serve based on the anxiety I reported. The medical review board’s decision was made so quickly that I could only plead my case for why I was still suitable for service over the phone to an AmeriCorps counselor. But it seemed like it was too late — their minds were made up. I later got a letter from AmeriCorps NCCC informing me that I was disqualified from service.

I felt devastated, attacked, and grossly misunderstood. To be told you are incapable of service due to acts that were committed outside of your control is horrendous. This massive regret came over me, and I wished I had never reported the incident, never completed counseling, never disclosed the anxiety.

I later learned that AmeriCorps NCCC’s health screening process is deeply unfair to everyone with any sort of mental health condition. The medical history questionnaire is so broad that it will flag far too many people who are able to serve. And AmeriCorps NCCC uses guidelines that discriminate against people with mental health issues. In my case, AmeriCorps’ guidelines said that an individual who received counseling in the last six months for anxiety should be deferred from service.

The way AmeriCorps NCCC treated me was worse than the sexual assault. With the help of the ACLU, I filed a complaint challenging AmeriCorps’ health screening process. I want AmeriCorps NCCC to change how it completes health screenings for the benefit of anyone interested in serving. Every single person shunned away from AmeriCorps service due to discriminatory health screenings results in the loss of thousands of priceless service hours for the American people, a weakened feeling of community and patriotism, and, on a personal level, devastated dreams.

The AmeriCorps Pledge states, “I will bring Americans together to strengthen our communities. Faced with apathy, I will take action. Faced with conflict, I will seek common ground. Faced with adversity, I will persevere.” I ask AmeriCorps NCCC to take action, change its discriminatory policies, and seek common ground so that qualified applicants are not rejected based on health conditions or disability.

The ACLU is interested in hearing from other AmeriCorps NCCC applicants who believe they were treated unfairly in the health screening process. Please share your story with us.

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TrumpAid Drink it

“...well I hate to tell you Americorp Sex Assualt survivors, you’re throwing our budget a little out of whack...”. Each time we have to pay one of you more little African babies starve. So “...just lay back and enjoy it...” After all when I’m done “...grabbin’ em by the pussy...” It’ll all be ok and we’ll “...all get a tax break...”

Anonymous

I cannot determine whether the comment offered by "TrumpAid Drink It" was meant to be a joke or a scathing put-down, but it is in extremely poor taste. There is no need to repeat these off-color, sexist, and racist remarks... we are tired of hearing them coming from Washington.

Anonymous

If you can’t determine then it is neutral free speech.

Anonymous

10/10

Anonymous

You're A Brainless Dweeb! Another Anti-Trump, Democrat Moron with no education of AmeriCorps! AmeriCorps has been around long before Trump was elected, and I know because I served from 1997 - 2000!! Bet this author (survivor) made her attempt of admission into AmeriCorps back when the racist and seperatist named Obama was still in office, the same president who was then and still is now ANTI-VETERAN! Oh yeah, let's also mention that AmeriCorps was created in the administration of the infamous Democrat Sex Offender Bill Clinton! Your Millennial Ignorance Is What Scares The Shit Out Of The Country, Moron! You people are to run our country? God Help The Generations To Come After You......IF They Survive At All!

As for the survivor who wrote this I have to agree with the fact that the questions on the screening form are discriminatory as I ( A MALE! ) was sexually assaulted as a thirteen year old by an older teen but didn't get counseling for it until I was well into adulthood. I think the "intent" of those questions was for those having been placed into counseling involuntarily by a court order just as those questions are not clearly explained on the gun application forms set by the federal government. What's written or asked on a form isn't as clarified as they should be because the author(s) of the questions (or laws too for that matter) are left wide open for interpretation by the reader, sort of like how the U.S. Constitution was written and later twisted, manipulated, and altered by later generations who were not present during the times for which it was written. Her going to the A.C.L.U was a smart move because those questions violate the rights set down by the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1993 (ADA) which seems to get ignored by every person and generation since it's inception.

Anonymous

Penertiban Villa Ilegal di Puncak Berlanjut

BOGOR, KOTABUNGA.WEB.ID — Bupati Bogor Rachmat Yasin menegaskan, kepandaian penertiban villa ilegal di area Puncak bakal terus berlanjut. Bahkan, penertiban tersebut akan diperluas ke seluruh kawasan, tak melulu di Kecamatan Cisarua dan Megamendung.

”Kebijakan tersebut berlanjut. Penertiban villa tidak saja di area Puncak, tetapi pun di area lain. Karena seluruh lahan mesti dipakai sesuai peruntukannya sebagaimana ditata RUTR (rencana umum tata ruang),” kata Rachmat Yasin di Cibinong, Bogor, ketika melantik sebanyak pejabat di lingkungan pemerintahannya, Selasa (5/1/2010). Yasin Zaenudin dilantik sebagai Asisten Daerah I Bidang Pemerintahan. Yasin sebelumnya ialah kepala satuan polisi pamong praja, yang bertanggung jawab menertibkan puluhan sewa villa di Puncak ilegal.

Yasin digantikan Dace Supriyadi, yang sebelumnya Camat Cileungsi. Dace dinilai sukses merombak sejumlah perumahan prostitusi dan ratusan lapak saudagar kaki lima di area persimpangan jembatan layang di wilayahnya.

Yasin dinilai dapat melakukan pembongkaran villa dan bangunan binal atau bangunan tidak berizin menegakkan bangunan serta lapak kaki lima dan lokasi tinggal prostitusi. ”Itu tugas tak mudah, bahkan kadang-kadang sangat berlawanan dengan hati nurani, tetapi ketentuan harus anda tegakkan,” kata Rachmat Yasin.

Sementara itu, Pemerintah Kota Bogor bertekad mengerjakan pembatasan atau pembagian masa-masa operasional angkutan kota (angkot) bakal tuntas tahun 2010. Bagi itu, Gubernur Jawa Barat Achmad Heryawan diinginkan mendukung program yang bertujuan mengefektifkan arus kemudian lintas di Kota Bogor.

Keberpihakan Gubernur Heryawan dalam menata waktu operasional angkot tersebut penting. Sebab, jumlah angkot dengan izin Gubernur Jabar yang masuk ke Kota Bogor lebih tidak sedikit daripada jumlah angkot yang izinnya dikeluarkan Wali Kota Bogor. Tanpa terdapat sinkronisasi masa-masa operasional tersebut, susah diwujudkan kenyamanan selesai lintas di Kota Bogor dan distrik perbatasannya.

”Kami paling menanti sokongan Pak Gubernur Heryawan. Kami telah berkirim surat ke Dinas Perhubungan Jawa Barat, namun sampai ketika ini belum terdapat jawaban,” kata Kepala Dinas Perhubungan, Komunikasi, dan Informatika HA Syarief, Senin. (RTS)

Anonymous

How do I get my mouse to translate this to Spanish?

Translation

Anonymous
The control of Illegal Villa at the Peak Continues

BOGOR, KOTABUNGA.WEB.ID - Bogor Regent Rachmat Yasin asserted, the intelligence of controlling illegal villas in Puncak area will continue. In fact, the curbing will be extended to the entire region, not merely in the Sub-District of Cisarua and Megamendung.

"The policy continues. Pengertiban villa not only in the Peak area, but also in other areas. Because all the land must be used according to its designation as arranged by RUTR (general plan of spatial planning), "said Rachmat Yasin in Cibinong, Bogor, when inaugurate as many officials in his government, Tuesday (5/1/2010). Yasin Zaenudin was inaugurated as Assistant to Region I of Governance. Yasin previously was the head of the civil service police unit, which was responsible for disciplining the tens of rent villas in Puncak illegal.

Yasin was replaced by Dace Supriyadi, who was previously the Cileungsi Sub-district administrator. Dace is considered successful in overhauling a number of prostitution housing and hundreds of stalls of puddle merchants in d ...

IN OTHER WORDS ......... HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS SUBJECT!!! SPAM!!!!

Brandy Skinner

First off as an AmeriCorps Alumni I have to say I am deeply sorry that happened to you. I have served 3 yrs,2 of the with VISTAS one of which I was a VISTA Leader. My third was with AmeriCorps state. Never have I encountered a questionnaire like you spoke of. I did serve in two different states and one thing I have learned is that no two programs or states run the same. Do not be discouraged, if your serious about wanting to serve then continue applying. There are so many divisions, programs and opportunities that will not ask you those questions. My terms of service has been tremendously impactful to my life. I hope you find a better opportunity.

Anonymous

I was with AmeriCorps VISTA from 1997-2000 myself and I don't recall being asked what she pictures here. Like I mentioned in another reply questions as her description depicts are in violation if ADA of which AmeriCorps when I was in was focused on a great deal by upgrading the homes and public accesses of buildings to comply with the new laws under ADA. INTERPRETATION, that's the key issue with the way lawmakers word their laws and the same goes for the policy-makers who create these screening forms for just about every issue being faced today whether it be getting into AmeriCorps or applying for a gun permit. Those creating the screening forms seem to think that everyone can see clearly the intent/meaning of questions from the viewpoint of the author's mind's eye (what was in their head at the time). A clear meaning/intent must be explained on forms like these, and should be made a mandatory requirement in the creation of such screening tools. This is just plain COMMON SENSE as is the fact that those filling out such screening forms should openly question the intent BEFORE filling in the blanks.

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