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“We Thought It was Normal That You Had to Have Sex to Keep Your Job”

Posted by on Mar. 14, 2013 at 3:01 AM
  • 27 Replies



“We Thought It was Normal That You Had to Have Sex to Keep Your Job”

What price are you willing to pay for cheap produce? How about a culture of sexual assault and rape so widespread that one female farmworker starkly said that “We thought it was normal in the U.S. that you had to have sex to keep your job.”

For the more than 400,000 immigrant women working on farms and in meat-packing plants and other agricultural processing facilities across the U.S., sexual assault is a daily part of the job, as are poor working conditions like limited access to toilets, shade, fresh water and food. Most of these workers are making less than minimum wage, which is still more than they can earn at home, and they live in a constant fear of deportation, a fear exploited by the men who assault them.

In 2010, the Southern Poverty Law Center published a detailed study looking at the conditions endured by immigrant women on U.S. farms.  What they found was shocking and revolting. Many survey respondents reported an atmosphere of repeat rape and sexual assault, citing some farms as so bad that they’d acquired biting nicknames like “field of panties” or “the Green Motel” (a reference to being raped between row crops). For all the cheap produce these farms churned out for eager U.S. consumers, workers routinely suffered in a work environment where it was difficult to seek legal redress, and not much has changed since 2010.

The problem for workers is that reporting crimes comes with the embedded threat of deportation. This is used as a tool for intimidation by supervisors and others who sexually harass, molest and rape workers, suggesting that if they tell anyone, they’ll be sent out of the country. Now that crossing the border is much more difficult and the job situation in Central and South America is even more dire, deportation is a particularly serious threat — and many women are not aware that they may be entitled to consideration under a visa program for victims of violence and sexual assault.

If workers do manage to find an advocacy group or similar organization, communication can be a barrier. Many immigrant farmworkers are Spanish-speaking and don’t speak any English at all, which limits their options, and some speak only indigenous languages, offering even fewer choices for finding support. If they choose to come forward with reports of sexual assault, immigration services often become involved as translators, even if local law enforcement have no intent of trying to deport them, and they can become trapped in a request for identification that turns a sexual assault report into a detention and deportation case.

Some law enforcement agencies are trying different approaches to the situation, focusing on getting help for victims and taking their claims seriously. For farmworkers in regions covered by such compassionate law enforcement, rape doesn’t have to end in silence or deportation, but it can be difficult to know what kind of treatment will be offered ahead of time unless advocates can reach potential victims and interact with them, something made difficult by tactics like forcing workers to stay in company housing or threatening workers with deportation if they’re seen talking with people from advocacy groups.

The epidemic of sexual assault staining the agriculture industry of the U.S. is something that all residents should be ashamed of, and it’s something that requires urgent action. These cases need to be pursued seriously and without the threat of deportation, and the U.S. needs immediate comprehensive immigration reform so that immigrant women won’t be viewed as such easy targets.



Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/wake-up-america-we-thought-it-was-normal-that-you-had-to-have-sex-to-keep-your-job.html#ixzz2NUko38Zl

by on Mar. 14, 2013 at 3:01 AM
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Replies (1-10):
AdrianneHill
by Platinum Member on Mar. 14, 2013 at 3:52 AM
5 moms liked this
Of course, I'm sure these women were dressed like sluts who were begging for it because that is the best way to dress when picking produce. Also, the fact they might be illegal makes it only right and fair they be raped as lawlessness leads to lawlessness.
Yuck, had to put that ignorant and cruel bullshit out there so none of those so devoted to certain parts of law and order who sincerely mean those things will bother to write it out again as it has been already said. Some people have less humanity in them than a used tampon
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Goodwoman614
by Satan on Mar. 14, 2013 at 4:50 AM



Quoting AdrianneHill:

Of course, I'm sure these women were dressed like sluts who were begging for it because that is the best way to dress when picking produce. Also, the fact they might be illegal makes it only right and fair they be raped as lawlessness leads to lawlessness.
Yuck, had to put that ignorant and cruel bullshit out there so none of those so devoted to certain parts of law and order who sincerely mean those things will bother to write it out again as it has been already said. Some people have less humanity in them than a used tampon


You know, as soon as I posted this I thought of the whole "well they deserved it b/c they were here illegally" crowd. 

I must say I've been thoroughly reacquainted with the vomitous level of inhumanity since being around here a bit more frequently of late. 

But I hadn't thought in this instance there'd be any doubt about the exploitation of these women and their circumstances.


Healthystart30
by Silver Member on Mar. 14, 2013 at 4:58 AM
1 mom liked this
Quoting Goodwoman614:




I sometimes wonder about some of the women on here when it comes to certain topics, but especially victims of sexual assaults and children! It's like they lack empathy, which is not a good trade!
jhslove
by Bronze Member on Mar. 14, 2013 at 5:36 AM
3 moms liked this

Thanks for posting this! "Cheap" food isn't really cheap at all. It comes at a huge hidden cost, we just have the luxury of being able to ignore it because it's not right in front of us.

LoveMyBoyK
by Ruby Member on Mar. 14, 2013 at 5:45 AM
I love how you ladies so smugly and casually BLOW OFF the PRIMARY obstacle to actually helping these women. Open boarders is NOT a viable option so instead of dismissing as irrelevant the massive obstacle that is presented right in the article - their FEAR of being deported because they are not here legally - try proposing viable solutions. Anyone? Amnesty might work for those already here, IF they can be reached and made aware but how do we prevent it from continuing as more women take their place?
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LoveMyBoyK
by Ruby Member on Mar. 14, 2013 at 5:48 AM
Not having a solution is not the same as ignoring it. What is your solution?


Quoting jhslove:

Thanks for posting this! "Cheap" food isn't really cheap at all. It comes at a huge hidden cost, we just have the luxury of being able to ignore it because it's not right in front of us.


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jhslove
by Bronze Member on Mar. 14, 2013 at 5:54 AM
3 moms liked this

I don't know if I'd call it a solution, I just do what I can. For me, that's buying as much local and fair-trade produce as possible, avoiding the conventionally-grown produce at the grocery store as much as I can, and avoiding factory-farmed meat all together. It's not perfect, but it's what I'm capable of at this time with the financial resources and time that I have at my disposal.

And we're not rich, but we have decided that it's important for us to support humane practices with our food dollars. So we shift around other things in our budget so that we can spend a little more on food.


Quoting LoveMyBoyK:

Not having a solution is not the same as ignoring it. What is your solution?


Quoting jhslove:

Thanks for posting this! "Cheap" food isn't really cheap at all. It comes at a huge hidden cost, we just have the luxury of being able to ignore it because it's not right in front of us.




Healthystart30
by Silver Member on Mar. 14, 2013 at 5:59 AM
3 moms liked this
Quoting LoveMyBoyK:

I love how you ladies so smugly and casually BLOW OFF the PRIMARY obstacle to actually helping these women. Open boarders is NOT a viable option so instead of dismissing as irrelevant the massive obstacle that is presented right in the article - their FEAR of being deported because they are not here legally - try proposing viable solutions. Anyone? Amnesty might work for those already here, IF they can be reached and made aware but how do we prevent it from continuing as more women take their place?



Maybe we should hold the farmers and the rapists accountable?
Donna6503
by Platinum Member on Mar. 14, 2013 at 6:30 AM

Yeap, I believe it.

The New VAWA that was just signed does deal with this issue

LoveMyBoyK
by Ruby Member on Mar. 14, 2013 at 6:34 AM
1 mom liked this
You are blowing right past that obstacle again. If the women will not REPORT it, much less press charges, please explain how we hold someone responsible.


Quoting Healthystart30:

Quoting LoveMyBoyK:

I love how you ladies so smugly and casually BLOW OFF the PRIMARY obstacle to actually helping these women. Open boarders is NOT a viable option so instead of dismissing as irrelevant the massive obstacle that is presented right in the article - their FEAR of being deported because they are not here legally - try proposing viable solutions. Anyone? Amnesty might work for those already here, IF they can be reached and made aware but how do we prevent it from continuing as more women take their place?





Maybe we should hold the farmers and the rapists accountable?

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