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Bandana Project raises sexual assault awareness

 Imagine working in a field all day in 100 degree weather, planting, harvesting and packing fruits and vegetables.

 The work is hard and the pay is low. But worse is the constant fear of being sexually assaulted or raped by your boss or coworkers.

 Immigrant women, working on farms or cleaning hotels, have been silently subjected to these worries for years.

 Awareness on the issue has been pushed for the past five years.

 This week, VSU’s Women and Gender Studies program hosted The Bandanna Project, a public awareness campaign that addresses the issue of workplace sexual violence against migrant farmworker women in the United States.
 The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a nonprofit civil rights organization, launched this campaign in 2007.

  “These women use bandannas and baggy clothes in order to try to look like men, all to avoid being brutally raped,” Tracy Meyers, director of WGST, said. “Because they’re in the fields all day, this rape is easily hidden.”
 According to SPLC’s website, these immigrant women don’t know their rights and often fear that reporting abuses will lead to unemployment, deportation and separation from their children.

 To raise awareness of the sexual abuse of migrant farmworker woman, students were provided with bandannas and paint.

 The decorated bandannas were then hung on the Pedestrian mall.

 White bandannas symbolize the sexual exploitation of farmworker women and the decoration of bandannas is done to support the fight to end workplace sexual violence against migrant farm worker women.

 Because April is sexual assault awareness month, WGST will host other events like the SlutWalk on the 26 in Palms Quad, and a showing of “The Line,” a documentary that explores the line of consent.

 For more information on WGST program and their events, contact Tracy Woodward-Meyers at tmeyers@valdosta.edu or Dorothy Sumner at dnsumner@valdosta.edu.

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