Screening held during Sexual Assault Awareness Month
The Santa Clara
April 12, 2018
Many agricultural fields of the United States produce not only crops, but a culture of fear.
The Wellness Center organized a screening of “Rape in the Fields,” a Frontline and Univision documentary narrating the plight of Latina migrant agricultural workers sexually assaulted and harassed by their supervisors. The event coincides with national observance of sexual assault awareness for the month of April. The screening was followed by a discussion with the fifteen students in attendance.
“This issue is so complicated because we see the intersecting problems with our justice and social system because it’s not only a matter of xenophobia and exploiting the labor of certain groups of people,” one student said. “There’s violence against women, abuse of power in the workplace. And then there’s an issue of documentation.”
A recurring theme mentioned by students was the increased vulnerability of undocumented female workers. The threat of deportation and often the inability to speak English deter them from reporting these instances.
Several students noted that many police departments, though intending to support survivors of sexual assault, also enforce immigration laws, further complicating the situation.
Junior Sarah Locklin believes that legal action against agricultural companies on behalf of undocumented agricultural workers is unlikely.
“It’s politically unpopular to bring forward these public allegations against certain companies because it is sacrificing themselves for a community that people see as being criminals for existing in the country,” Locklin said.
Another topic discussed was capitalism and the exploitation of immigrant labor, specifically from Latin America. Several students mentioned the power of consumerism in boycotting companies that protect perpetrators.
One student said that businesses are complicit in the sexual violence against the female workers. He believes they normalize a culture that silences victims and fails to punish perpetrators.
Junior Kimy Grandi said that one’s intersectional gender and cultural identity, makes women less likely to speak out against abusive supervisor, who may also be of the Latinx community.
“Latina women are so disempowered because in our own culture, it’s incredibly machista,” Grandi said. “You want to have a voice, but perpetuates the rhetoric that Latinx people are rapists and horrible people.”
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