Women in the Fields

The documentary “Rape in Fields” was very heartbreaking. This documentary is about women who are abused and sexually harassed by their employers. Many women who are immigrant workers in farm fields and plants have gone through horrible ordeals. It’s sad to see that these women once didn’t have a voice because they were terrified of getting deported or fired. They kept quiet so they could continue working. They have suffered for so many years and have been through many awful days. Many Women who worked in the fields described the field as “the field of panties” and “the green motel.” One could have never imagined what was happening in these fields if these women had never spoken. One of the women, Maricruz Ladino, explains that even though she hates remembering the past she is glad that women have finally decided to speak out. One of the reasons that many women get abused and harassed is the fact that they are women. These women’s gender determines how they are going to be treated when working in these types of jobs. Being a female can place these women in great danger. We live in a time were women have gotten many women rights and have learned to fend for themselves. Unfortunately, many undocumented women still don’t know that they have many rights. For example, Dolores Huerta, a civil right activist and founder of The United Farm Workers of America explains: “I became aware of it as a young woman, and my mother would never let me work in the fields…And then when I actually did go out and work in the fields, then, like all of the other women, I saw the foreman coming and hovering around you. And of course that was something that made you very nervous, because you didn’t know if they were just looking at your work or if they were looking at you.”(Frontline, 2013)

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The reason that they stay quiet it’s because they have to take care of their families and are afraid to lose their jobs. Men in this situation are very chauvinist. They think that being men they are able to control women and do with them as they please. This women are defenseless and vulnerable and the find themselves putting up with the sexual harassment because they don’t have another choice. Another reason that women are mistreated in this type of jobs is because they are immigrants. When these women come to the United States they want to better themselves and are in search of the American dream but this has some very grave consequences. They get abused and harassed and the reason that they decide to stay quiet is because they are afraid of going back to their country of origin. They refuse to accept losing the life they have in the United States and they decide to put up with all the abuse. They endanger their lives because they want to hold onto a piece of the American dream. My parents were immigrants and they picked fruit from fields and I’m glad that my mom had my dad besides her at all times. These women are willing to risk everything, including their bodies and self-esteem, in order to keep their jobs and stay in the United States.

Another factor that these women are targeted is because they don’t know the laws or know how to speak English. It’s horrible to know that many of these women are forced to get in a car and suddenly are being taken to an unknown location with a gun pointed at their head and get repeatedly abused. There have been many cases about women getting abused but unfortunately these perpetrators were never charged. The lack of evidence has affected many of this people’s life. These women don’t know what to do because they don’t know that there are laws to protect them. They fail to realize that there are people out there to help them but they don’t know even when they don’t know how to speak English there are people who are willing to help all this undocumented abused women. In order for law enforcement and social workers to prevent these abuses they should go to the fields and plants and conduct interviews every 3 months. This would keep employers from abusing their employees and they can also be aware that they will be penalized if any type of illegal activity is found in their work place. Social workers should also have a hotline where women are able to report any sexual harassment in plants and the fields. They should let women know that they are by their side and their illegal immigration status does not matter when reporting any cruel incident. This way woman can feel safe and know that they are able to report without being penalized. Another solution to this problem is to give women some type of education about the subject and let them know their rights so they can feel safe when reporting any wrong doings. These women need help and with authorities or social workers getting involved little by little this problem can get eliminated.

Frontline (2013) Dolores Huerta: An “Epidemic in the Fields” Retrieved PBS Frontline (2013) Rape in the Fields Retrieved

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