Sexual Assault And Harassment At The Farm Industry

765 Words4 Pages
In Rape in the Fields, the issue of sexual assault and harassment in the farm industry among women is incredibly high and undocumented. Unfortunately, a large marjotity of women who work in these fields are illegal immigrants and often don’t speak much, if any, English. Along with the language barrier, most women are unsure of their rights and know that oftentimes they don’t have any. The documentary exemplified the both situations of “unwelcome” and “involuntary” sexual harassment. On more than one occasion women were told that if they did not perform sexual acts with their supervisors they would lose their jobs. On top of fear for their jobs, the fear of deportation was a major concern for most of these women. This is an example of “unwelcome” sexual assault, because they were sometimes doing these acts voluntarily but only to maintain their source of income. “Involuntary” sexual assault, on the other hand, is also a huge issue. In this circumstance, women would often be taken to the fields and forcefully raped. This is completely involuntary and has no room for any sort of consent. One gray situation, however, that could be considered one of each, was when a woman was taken into the field and had a gun held to her. She was told that if she did not have sex with her supervisor he would take her life. This falls under both categories of “unwelcome” and “involuntary.” The farm owners maintain an unfair sense of power over their undocumented workers. Because they are undocumented, the rights they have are blurred and the results of reporting any injustice could result in losing their jobs or even deportation. This is powerlessness in its purest form, in which these women have no good option other than to do what is best for ... ... middle of paper ... ...ources available to help them, however. With a language barrier and the isolation of working in the fields, most women do not know that help is an option. Even when they do, it is common for the people they accuse of these situations to be found innocent and not charged rightfully for their actions. When the documentary was made, no accusations are known to have rightfully accused the perpetrators and given them a serious sentence. Conditions for women working in the fields are incredibly harsh and have little protection. Although there are some people working to improve these women’s circumstances, the issue of sexual assault is still prevalent and heavily in the control of the assaulters. Few women actually find justice and many are forced to continue living the life of sexual abuse in order to keep their jobs and support their families without fear of deportation.

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