Farmworkers, Domestic Workers & Women in Low-Wage Jobs Face Challenges Reporting Sexual Assault

Farmworkers, Domestic Workers & Women in Low-Wage Jobs Face Challenges Reporting Sexual Assault


AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org,
The War and Peace Report, with Part 2 of our conversation about women who survive sexual
harassment and assault, and speak out. I’m Amy Goodman, with Nermeen Shaikh. NERMEEN SHAIKH: On Wednesday, Time magazine
announced the 2017 Person of the Year goes to the women who have spoken out against sexual
assault and harassment, sparking an international movement. AMY GOODMAN: It calls the group “the Silence
Breakers,” includes Hollywood actresses, journalists, farmworkers, hotel cleaners,
women who want to remain anonymous and women who are willing to be named. For more, we continue with our conversation
with Tarana Burke. She is the founder of the “Me Too” movement,
who coined that term. Mily Treviño is with us from Palm Springs,
California, Mily Treviño-Sauceda. She is one of the founders of the National
Alliance of Women Farmworkers. And Alicia Garza joins us from Berkeley, California,
with the National Domestic Workers Alliance, co-founder of Black Lives Matter. In Part 1 of our discussion, we talked about
this incredible moment on the cover of Time magazine, six women, some famous, others not,
one not even named, but who have all spoken out against sexual harassment and assault,
this at time when President Trump falsely put out that he was going to be named Time
“Man of the Year,” a man who is president of the United States, who has been accused
by at least 16 women of sexual harassment or assault. I wanted to start with Alicia Garza about
what this moment means, especially for the not famous, the people you represent, for
domestic workers, who suffer violence in the places where they work. I mean, some people go to work, and then they
go home, and that’s their sanctuary. But these mainly women, mainly black and brown
women, have to go into people’s private homes. Talk about the dangers there and what you—how
you organize and what you recommend to people how they can remain safe. ALICIA GARZA: Absolutely. So, some of the big dangers are that, first,
these women are working in homes by themselves. This work is incredibly isolating. They’re not working in offices with other
people. They’re very much working in someone’s
home by themselves, outside of the public eye. The other big danger that we see is that oftentimes
this industry itself is really what we call the wild, wild west. There is not a lot of regulations or clear
protections for women in this industry, and really not a lot of clarity about where do
you go to report violence or abuse when you’ve experienced it. And so, what we think is necessary right now
is a couple of things. One, we think it’s important to make the
laws clearer, and laws that don’t further criminalize survivors, but instead provide
a confidential place to be able to share your story and to know that there will be some
follow-up and accountability that happens from that. The other big thing, though, is that I think,
before we start to talk about legislating solutions, we also have to talk about changing
culture. The fact of the matter is, this type of violence,
this type of harassment, is something that’s seen as normal. It’s seen as what happens when you’re
just being one of the guys. And, in fact, it’s—there’s a lot of
questioning that happens to survivors, particularly those who are low-wage workers, immigrant
women, black and brown women, about whether or not they actually experienced what they
experienced. And so, what that tells us is that the culture
that we live in very much supports and normalizes this kind of violence and behavior towards
women. And so, unless we’re able to change that,
then it means that laws will continue to be ineffective, because there’s a big gap between
what we believe to be normal and commonsense and then how we actually deal with that. So we think that both of those things need
to come together. NERMEEN SHAIKH: Tarana Burke, can you comment
on what Alicia said? Specifically, what kind of conversation needs
to happen? How can the culture change? TARANA BURKE: Well, I think the culture change
is, one, we have to start with young people, right? We have—this should be a conversation about
comprehensive sex education in schools, where we start talking about consent and boundaries
and what respect looks like between genders and between individuals, at a very young age. And I just imagine what it looks like if you
layer that conversation every year, if that’s required for young people. By the time they graduate high school, you
have young people who have been hearing since they were children about what consent is,
about respect—right?—about boundaries. So I think it’s really important that we
start very young. I also think that we have to shift this conversation—I’ve
said this very many times—from talking about individual people. These are systemic—excuse me—problems
that we’re looking at. This sexual violence is so pervasive that
it’s not just about individual monsters who are rising up. It’s about a culture that’s been created
that allows these men, and women, and whatever perpetrators to behave in the way that they
do. And so, it’s not just—I think when we
individualize it and start talking about how these individuals are bad people, then it
take away from the—like what Alicia was talking about—the culture that’s created
that allows these people to do what they do. AMY GOODMAN: And, Mily Treviño-Sauceda, you
are with the National Alliance of Women Farmworkers. One of the six women on the cover of Time
magazine—it’s Taylor Swift, Ashley Judd, the famous, high-profile women, anonymous
sixth woman, pictured in the company of former Uber engineer Susan Fowler, lobbyist Adama
Iwu and Isabel Pascual, who’s a strawberry picker and an immigrant from Mexico, whose
name was changed to protect her identity. You have worked in the fields. What do you tell women? How do women protect themselves? Is it about laws? What are the safe places they can go? How much retaliation do they face? MILY TREVIÑO-SAUCEDA: Thank you for asking
that question—or questions. It’s very easy to say this. We face harassment on a daily basis. And we’re talking about—this is about
farmworker women. As a farmworker woman, I was sexually harassed. And because I silenced myself, because of
the taboos and because I knew I was going to be blamed, I—it made it worse. So I became much more vulnerable. That meant that I was harassed several more
times. So, what I—what we do, what we do in this
movement, is to really talk about in what way we are—we are supporting each other,
how—that we’re not alone, that it’s not—it’s very, very hard to even talk
about the issue. I know—we know that it’s very shameful,
but we really need to make sure that we have the conversation. We do it in very different ways. We use theater skits. We use art. We use conversational—in the kitchen, in
the dining room, where we can talk confidentially, and we give each other some support. And then we make sure that the agencies are
there to support the work that we’re doing, so that the women can feel safe and that we—that
we just give them the support that they need. At a national level, what we’re doing is
trying to make sure that we bring visibility. We’ve been doing this for more than 20 years. And thank you, thank you, thank you, that
this is coming to a part where we’re going to start working together, where we’re saying,
“This is enough.” We need to be in solidarity. We need to work together, all different industries,
women that—because, yes, there’s a lot, a lot of privilege that we have created for
some people, and they feel that they can continue, you know, abusing. And we just need to work together. Farmworker women are speaking out. But that doesn’t mean that it’s become
easier. It’s become harder, because we are talking
about things that we were not used to talk about before. AMY GOODMAN: I want to thank Alicia Garza
of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and Mily Treviño-Sauceda of the National
Alliance of Women Farmworkers. This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org,
The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Nermeen Shaikh.

Author:

9 thoughts on “Farmworkers, Domestic Workers & Women in Low-Wage Jobs Face Challenges Reporting Sexual Assault”

  • Marijuana Saves Lives says:

    Tom Arnold‏ Verified account @TomArnold

    I’m #MeToo & don’t doubt any other woman but the Leeann Tweeden-John Phillips-Roger Stone lies & set up of Al Franken were part of a larger smear campaign against Al initiated at the same time Leeann came out at KABC. I have proof. Leeann knows it. It’s a disservice to victims.

    https://twitter.com/TomArnold/status/938621561971523588

  • Alicia Garza? Never heard of her. Thought the white guy Jeffery Shaun King was speaker for BLM. Seems a black organization would know a brother or sister. Even the NAACP had a white woman representative; Rachel Dolezal was her name.

  • What do we expect when we elect a self admitted molester who brags about walking into little girls' dressing rooms, sexually assaults women, grabbing them by the pussy, wants to sex his own kid, and murdered an 8 year old American girl his first week in office, then consider for even one single second without explosive wide spread across the board public outrage and universal condemnation to electing a senator who openly admitted they molested under aged girls while some of his victims claim rape and public spaces were forced to ban him. Its the mental state of the nation; sociopathic delusional predators supported by an equally clueless if not psychotic violent, racist, completely paranoid if not openly murderous public. Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right; here I am stuck in the middle with you. Is that thang loaded with one in the chamber ma'me? Good. Please keep it right thar in your lap under your shawl while we enjoy this bloody circus.

  • Real UFO Videos says:

    Blue collar assaults are usually kept silent. I've saw many incidents during my 40 years, and many jobs. Some were appalling. Also saw management taking advantage of coworkers. All kept silent. I'm very happy to see women and men, stepping forward. About time.

  • The government should fund any man or woman's move to another country.
    As for sexual harassment, all men and women should just go gay and straight sex should be only for breeding purposes. I've actually seen women lose their jobs and get sued for false allegations.
    Men ARE sexual and you women so want to play in a man's world but don't want to adapt to it.
    Don't like sexual harassment? Then don't come into a man's world and expect it to be a tea party full of love. Men have historically treated women like shit. Instead of destroying their lives, stay the fuck away or learn to deal.

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