Handout 2: Critical incident: Social/sexual pressure encountered by a male PCV relating to his community acceptance and identity
During PST, Joe learned that local bars were a good place to meet the local men and become known and accepted into the local community. The male trainers in Joe's training program said they often went to a local bar at night to socialize and to get local people interested in their Peace Corps projects. All the trainers encouraged this avenue for meeting local men; however, the female trainees were strongly discouraged because it was not generally acceptable to the local community for a woman to socialize at night in a bar.
Shortly after arriving at his post, Joe went to once of the more popular bars in his local town. At first, Joe felt a little uncomfortable in the bar, being new and not knowing anyone. After a couple of drinks, Joe relaxed and found himself engaged in conversation with a couple of other men.
As the evening progressed, drinks were exchanged and Joe felt that he was doing fine on his first visit to a local bar. At the end of the evening, Joe sensed that he had made a good start toward gaining the friendship of the men with whom he had been drinking. As Joe was saying good night, he noticed that the men quickly conferred among themselves, and then one of them asked if he wanted a woman for the night. Joe was a little surprised but, since he was not interested, declined. The men pressed him several times, saying he must want a woman. Joe was feeling a bit embarrassed but really did not want to accept their offer. Finally, one of the men relieved the situation by saying Joe must be really tired; could he meet them the next night? Joe said yes, and a hearty good night was said all around.
The next evening, Joe went again to the same bar and found his new friends waiting for him. Everyone enthusiastically received him Joe was very gratified by their open friendliness and was pleasantly surprised at his quick acceptance. Again, an evening of drinking and camaraderie was enjoyed by all. When Joe was ready to leave, the same offer as the evening before was made. One of the men was heard to say, "Tonight we'll find out what the American can do.. Joe was very uncomfortable and he felt the pressure mount. However, he really did not want to go down to the "red light district.. Joe tried to decline, but hear other comments ranging from "He's too shy" to "Do you think he's one of those?". Joe was feeling very anxious and very uncomfortable.
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