‘Whispers from the Field’: Slam Poetry and the California Migrant Rape Crisis

Link to Women in the World: "‘Whispers From The Field’ Takes On Migrant Rape Crisis"
Link to Women in the World: “‘Whispers From The Field’ Takes On Migrant Rape Crisis”

Nina Strochlic writes:

Not only do more than half of all sexual-assault cases go unreported, but for the migrant community, it’s especially difficult to speak out. Many don’t have proper documentation, could lose their jobs for reporting assaults, were embarrassed and ashamed, and were afraid they wouldn’t be believed. And this was before being asked to show their faces in a national investigation. “There were so many reasons these women had not complained to employer, and here we are asking them to speak publically,” Yeung says.

The team was initially hopeful about a case in Oregon, where a woman and her sister had been repeatedly sexually harassed and raped in the field. The woman was intent on telling her story and making the abuse stop, but she soon realized it wasn’t worth the risk. She still saw the perpetrator at the grocery store and around town. The statistics were grim to begin with. After analyzing all 43 cases that have gone to federal court alleging sexual harassment in the agriculture industry, the investigative team found that not one resulted in any kind of persecution for the perpetrators. But in the end, the team got more than two dozen women to go on the record.

“Youth Speaks can really access the next generation in the way publishing in a newspaper might not,” Yeung says. “We’re always trying to think about how can be bring investigations into different communities, places, and audiences that might not otherwise encounter this work” (linked above).


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