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Jody Early and Colleagues Apply A Community-Engaged and Ecological Approach to Prevent Sexual Harassment in Agriculture

Posted: 11/29/2019 (CSDE in the News)

Sexual harassment, a form of sexual violence, is a widespread problem in agriculture. However, it’s not often seen as a workplace safety issue. CSDE Regional Affiliate and Associate Professor of Health Studies at UW Bothell, Dr. Jody Early, along with UW Bothell Affiliate Assistant Professor, Dr. Victoria Breckwich Vásquez, are working to change this. They co-lead a cross-sector group of stakeholders helmed by women farmworkers, to create the first U.S. bilingual, Spanish and English, video and toolkit to be used in the worksite to help change the way in which sexual harassment is understood and addressed within the agricultural sector.

The video and training toolkit is called ¡Basta! Prevenga El Acoso Sexual en La Agricultura (Preventing Sexual Harassment in Agriculture). Farmworkers played a key role in developing the resources, co-authoring the script and training scenarios, as well as helping to produce (and act) in the video. All of the resources are based on interviews with farmworkers as well as growers, legal experts, human rights activists, non-profit leaders, and representatives from labor and industry as well as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).The name of the video and toolkit (¡Basta!…) was even derived from a poem written by a farmworker, Paula Zambrano.

Early and Breckwich Vásquez spent over six years listening and working with different stakeholders to research root causes of sexual harassment in the agricultural workplace and policies in order to prevent future incidents. They aused their experience with community based participatory research to bring a number of cross-sector allies together. Breckwich Vásquez, for example, co-founded the Washington Coalition to Eliminate Farmworker Sexual Harassment which is pressing for policy change to require sexual harassment training in agriculture in the state of Washington.

Tailored and comprehensive trainings on sexual harassment are lacking across all sectors, but Early and Breckwich Vasquez’s efforts to co-create a Spanish and English resource for, and with, the agricultural sector addresses an urgent need to provide a multi-level prevention and human rights approach. Both Early and Breckwich Vásquez see this as more than a training, but as a movement. Early explains, “We focus on the role everyone plays in prevention, and do not see this as a ‘one shot’ intervention. It requires ongoing effort.”

The Basta! resources are available for a minimal fee through the Pacific Northwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center. Click here for the website and to see the video trailer. You can also read more about the ¡Basta! video and toolkit from a recent Yakima Herald story here as well as from UW Bothell News here.

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