Stop Sexual Violence Against Farmworker Women
The Bandana Project was created in 2007 by Monica Ramirez when she was an attorney at the Southern Poverty Law Center to raise awareness about the widespread problem of workplace sexual violence against farmworker women across the U.S.
Farmworker women plant, pick and pack the fruits and vegetables that puts food on our tables. Their jobs are low-paid, dangerous and isolated. Women wear bandanas to protect themselves from the sun, chemicals and other elements. They also wear bandanas to shield themselves from unwanted sexual attention.
Sexual violence against farmworker women by supervisors and co-workers is tragically so common that farmworker women refer to the fields as “green motels” and “fields of panties” and consider this violence to be a term and condition of their employment.
Since the #MeToo breakthrough moment, national attention has been focused on sexual harassment, but women living in the shadows are often forgotten. Justice for Migrant Women makes sure that farmworker women are not forgotten and that relationships are created through this art activism project to forge the strong coalitions that are needed to address this problem.
The Bandana Project is an art-activism and advocacy campaign that serves as a healing tool for women across the U.S. and in Mexico and Canada. They are able for the first time to speak about their suffering and share their stories with others who also suffer sexual violence. At the same time, they’re able to learn about their legal rights in their jobs and during migration.
In 2019, we intend to reach and engage at least 1,000 people across the United States.
Donations to this campaign will be used to host Bandana Project events, create a strategic media campaign to highlight how sexual harassment and assault affect farmworker women, distribute educational toolkits with Bandana Project supplies to more than 20 partner organizations to host their own events and awareness activities. This toolkit includes bandanas, an action postcard, know-your-rights-materials, an educational powerpoint for use in events, a social media kit, a sample press release, and other items.
We will measure the impact of the campaign by tracking how many events take place, how many farmworker women are reached, how much educational information is distributed, and how many new partnerships are developed.
Why It Matters:
The first study, conducted in the 1980’s, on sexual harassment against farmworker women found that nine out of 10 farmworker women said that sexual harassment was a major workplace problem. Two decades later, in 2010, farmworker women in California were interviewed and eight out of 10 women said they had suffered sexual harassment in the workplace. Even after those many years of advocacy, it is clear that sexual harassment is a widespread problem that requires ongoing advocacy and devoted resources.
The Bandana Project has helped lay a national foundation for building the movement to end workplace sexual violence against farmworker women and other low-paid immigrant women over the last decade. It has proven effective at helping farmworker women come forward about this terrible problem, getting important information into the hands of women who need it, humanizing migrant women, and forging new relationships with partners and policymakers.
Funding this year will help us continue to grow the network of allies and advocates who are committed to addressing this problem.
There has been significant and necessary media attention on sexual harassment and sexual violence work recently, but it has focused on higher paid, more visible workers. People don’t see farmworker women, and it can be a challenge to get the public at large to care about and to become aware of the plight of less visible workers. This requires an additional level of organizing, public education and funds to do the work – especially in the under-resourced farmworker community.
The Bandana Project costs will exceed $100,000 over the course of the calendar year. This campaign is aimed at raising the immediate funds needed to purchase the bandanas and distribute the educational kits to project partners. This request is for $25,000.
Other Ways People Can Help:
People should sign up to share digital content/social media to raise awareness about this Project. They should also encourage their friends and colleagues to contribute to Justice for Migrant Women through the HIPGive social sharing tools. Every single one of us is a necessary partner in ending the widespread sexual violence that farmworker women far too often suffer. Join us in our movement to raise awareness and end workplace sexual violence against farmworker women.
Justice for Migrant Women aims to ensure that all migrant women are guaranteed human and civil rights, including the freedom of mobility, the ability to live and work with dignity- without fear of sexual violence, and the right to be free of threats of violence against them and their families, whether they are migrating across borders, around regions or within states. Your donation today will help make this crucial work on behalf of women possible. Please be as generous as you are able.
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