Farmworkers figured out the key to ending sexual violence in the fields and it’s simple.
In March, members of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers held a fasting protest against Wendy’s to force Wendy’s to join the Fair Food Program that has drastically reduced sexual assault in the fields. Women (and some men) farmworkers traveled to New York to fast for a week. As far as I can tell, the boycott is still happening. I hope you will join me in supporting the workers by avoiding Wendy’s. Frosties are good, but human rights are better.
Riku Sen reports on the protest for The Nation here. She reports that 75% of farmworkers report sexual assault in the fields. The CIW Fair Food program has reduced this to virtually zero in almost all tomato fields in Florida.
So, what is the secret to eliminating sexual assault for farmworkers? The CIW uses a six-step process, but it basically boils down to these components:
Empower and educate women.
Respond safely and actively when they report wrongs.
When we experience a betrayal in our careers, we often want the people around us to step in and take care of it for us. We wait to empower and educate ourselves because we want them to respond safely first. And, don’t get me wrong, that would be nice. The second component is something I hope we all keep in mind when someone tells us about a trauma they experienced.
But, what happens when HR doesn’t respond – or when there is no HR to turn to?
What happens when a supervisor doesn’t care – or when our supervisor is the problem?
What happens when the police are suspicious of us instead of our harasser?
We are not taught in high school or college how to respond to violations of our personal space or dignity, and so when we start working, we are vulnerable.
We understand theoretically that talking about harassment is important, but we often worry people will think we are blowing things out of proportion.
Often people DO think we’re blowing things out of proportion.
But, you know what? Your career is IMPORTANT. And YOU are the person in charge of your career. Often it does not work to wait for someone else to empower and educate you, but it always works to empower and educate yourself.
YOU are the person who is in the best place to empower and educate yourself about how to move forward in your career - whether your career is in law, finance, education, art, forestry, mechanics, or momming. Whatever your career is, it's important.
You are absolutely capable of creating safety and power for yourself wherever you are.
If it seems like no one supports you, I support you. I know without a doubt that you are capable of getting through this. There are strategies you can learn to feel powerful in your space again.
Time to shine!
I work closely with a small handful of women individually every month to make sure they have the empowerment and education necessary to end harassment in their careers and find work they love so that they can fulfill their purpose. Imagine if you could feel certain you are doing work that fills your purpose and no one could take that from you? I don't want to see you wait to do the work you were meant to do. I'd love to chat and help you get clarity on your next move. Reserve a spot to do that here.