This blog post is co-authored by Mónica Ramírez and Brandy Compton.
Violence against women occurs worldwide: on the streets, in homes and in the workplace. 1 in 3 women globally. That’s 1,000,000,00 women and girls who will experience some form of violence in their lives. The experience of violence is not monolithic and impinges on all the interconnected spheres of a woman’s life from the home to the workplace. The fact that violence against women has reached these levels marks the urgency of raising awareness for this endemic problem. Most people equate February 14th with Valentine’s Day. However, today, 1 billion people worldwide will rise as a part of the V-Day movement to stand against this terrible and horrific reality that women and girls face. Women and girls are not the only victims of violence in our society, but the statistics show that they are more likely to suffer from a violent crime than men and boys. Today, the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) rises in solidarity on this global day of action. We rise to show the victims and survivors that they are not alone.
Exploitation against women occurs in a myriad of ways from physical assault and violence to emotional abuse, economic abuses, and sexual exploitation. Many Latinas experience these problems and, sometimes, they suffer multiple forms of violence. A victim of domestic violence may also be a victim of sexual harassment at work and wage theft. While each incidence may cause result in different harms for the victim, separately and cumulatively they have lasting consequences for women and their families.
Latinas, for example, suffer high rates of violence, according to Casa de Esperanza, a national anti-violence organization. They also experience the widest wage gap of any other ethnic group in the United States. Latinas are paid 54 cents for every dollar their white male counterparts make. Further, they suffer from some of the highest rates of workplace sexual violence. Imagine the way that this wage disparity effects this woman and her family. With the wages that she is cheated, she could send her children to college, and provide full healthcare for herself and her children. In addition, consider how failing to pay a woman her full earnings bears on her ability to leave an abusive partner or save enough resources to quit the job where they are being exploited.
Economic oppression is a form of violence that, at times, leaves victims vulnerable to further exploitation. Failing to pay Latinas what they are owed for their hard work is a direct attack on them, their livelihoods, their families and their future.
LCLAA is dedicated to raising awareness about some of the ways in which Latinas are experiencing abuse and exploitation at work, including physical, sexual and economic violence and oppression. Though these problems are immense and, at times, might seem overwhelming, we know that we cannot back down from speaking out and taking action.
Violence against women in the workplace and any place is both a women’s rights and a human rights issue. Unions and all workers’ rights organizations, along with all members of our society, must stand up and speak out against violence in all its forms. To that end, LCLAA will maintain Trabajadoras’ success and safety at the forefront. By organizing, lifting our voices and standing shoulder to shoulder, we will send the resounding message to victims and survivors that we stand with them. RISE UP with us today to speak out against violence in the workplace and every place.
Brandy Compton is a senior at the University of California, Los Angeles studying Gender Studies with a minor in Public Affairs. She is a participant of the UCDC Quarter in Washington academic and research program and is a Policy & Advocacy intern with LCLAA.
Mónica Ramírez has dedicated more than two decades to the eradication of gender-based violence and the promotion of gender equity, specifically on behalf of Latinas and farmworker and immigrant women. She is nationally recognized for her work to prevent and remedy workplace sexual violence. Mónica is an attorney, advocate, speaker and author. She holds a B.A from Loyola University in Chicago, a Juris Doctor from The Ohio State University, and a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Mónica is the Director of Gender Equality and Trabajadoras’ Empowerment for the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA).