Hundreds of women and men came out on short notice today to protest sexual abuse and rape. Called by local organizations and a group of female farmworkers, an estimated 500 people assembled in the heart of the Hollywood tourist district. They marched to the headquarters of CNN where a militant rally was held, then marched back to the starting point.
The crowd was lively, well-organized and very spirited. Local feminist and activist groups, as well as a leadership group of female farmworkers who drove 100 miles from Ventura county, made forceful statements, including speaking from personal experience. Speakers included figures in the Hollywood entertainment industry as well as local activists. The farmworkers carried signs in Spanish, and their leader spoke, in Spanish, to the assembled protesters. The event was very diverse ethnically.
One particularly striking aspect was that most of the signs were hand-made.
Police were present and well-mannered. Lots of media people were the and reports went out in the LA TIMES, LA OPINION (Los Angeles’ main Spanish-language daily) very quickly. I’ve been going to demonstrations since 1961, and except for that first march, this was the first time I have EVER been to a protest where I did not know one single individual.
Here are a series of photos I took at the demonstration.
By Francisco Castro, November 12, 2017.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews
Whistles and compliments – sometimes risque – are constant and common. So are harassment and even sexual attacks in exchange for work or favors, and complaints, due to fear, ignorance or immigration status, are nonexistent.
This is how Ramona Félix, coordinator of the program on harassment and sexual assault and human trafficking for the Líderes Campesina organization, describes what happens in the countryside to rural women.
“People are afraid to report it, they are afraid of being fired, many are single mothers,” about what agricultural workers live on. “There have been cases where there is harassment and run and supervisors spread the word ‘she is problematic’. The woman is left without any money. For fear, for the legal status, for what they will say, they remain silent. “
That’s why this Sunday, almost two dozen of them traveled from Ventura County to be present and participate in the #MeToo March against sexual harassment that took place in Hollywood.
Survivors of harassment and sexual assault and abuse walked from the meeting point – the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue – to the offices of a television station [CNN] where several people spoke out against this social scourge, before going back to the point initial.
The scandal over allegations of sexual harassment against powerful men in the film industry has opened the door for women in all kinds of industries to raise their voices and tell their cases.
“For every Harvey Weinstein (the famous Hollywood producer), there are hundreds more men in the neighborhood who are doing the same,” said Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo movement. “The conversation around Hollywood will spread to include other industries if we force it to happen.”
“This goes beyond Hollywood,” said Brenda Gutierrez, one of the organizers of the march. “I think it’s time that we no longer keep silent, that we are not ashamed and that we end up with the stigma and I think that is the great message of this march.”
“If a person can go out and get help, that will make me happy,” Gutiérrez added.
With chants of “Stop the violence, stop the rapes”, “Stand up for the women of the world” and “Violence must disappear”, hundreds of women – and men – joined the march yesterday in solidarity with their wives, mothers and sisters, as well as, some actresses.
“If people start talking about this, I think it will make a difference,” said Elizabeth Perkins, actress of the movie “Big” with Tom Hanks.
Many women said that men’s help in stopping this is essential.
“They are the ones who can solve this,” said Gretchen, who did not want to give her last name. “There are many wonderful men out there, but they have to go and talk to those who cause problems.”
TIME MAGAZINE story, including support statement by female farmworkers: