Frontline's Rape on the Night Shift: As Most of Us Head Home, Janitors, Many of Them Women, Begin Their Work
Rape on the Night Shift, a documentary by the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, will air on the Public Broadcasting System’s Frontline show tonight, June 23rd.
The film expands on IRP's earlier, award-winning coverage of problems facing immigrant women working in farms, fields and factories. This time, it turns the spotlight on immigrant women, often undocumented, who work as janitors to clean shops, banks and offices across the country after closing hours.
The documentary features interviews with the women themselves, an attorney for the federal agency responsible for enforcing sexual harassment laws in the workplace and a watchdog group that monitors working conditions for janitors. The documentary's correspondent is Lowell Bergman, the Logan Distinguished Chair in Investigative Journalism at the 'J' school and a founder of IRP. The producers are Andrés Cediel and Daffodil Altan, both alumni of the Graduate School of Journalism. A number of current and former journalism school students worked on the film as researchers, camera persons, fact-checkers and production assistants.
Rape on the Night Shift is a collaboration by the IRP, Frontline, Reveal at The Center for Investigative Reporting and KQED Radio. Reveal's English-language national radio show will air related material on public radio stations across the country beginning July 4, with a Spanish-language podcast to be released on iTunes.
Frontline presents their documentary
Every night, as most of us head home, janitors across America, many of them women, begin their night shift. They are often alone or isolated in empty buildings — and vulnerable to sexual violence. Following up on the award-winning collaboration that produced Rape in the Fields/Violación de un Sueño in 2013, Frontline (PBS), Univision, the Investigative Reporting Program (IRP) at UC Berkeley, Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) and KQED are teaming up to uncover the sexual abuse of immigrant women, often undocumented, who clean the malls where you shop, the banks where you do business, and the offices where you work.
Univision's Spanish-language documentary, Violación de un Sueño: Jornada Nocturna, premiered last Saturday. Frontline's English-language documentary, Rape on the Night Shift, will air Tuesday, June 23 at 10 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings). Reveal's English-language national radio show will air on public radio stations across the US starting Saturday, July 4, with a special Spanish-language podcast also being released on iTunes. All broadcasts will be accompanied by content from the reporting partners – including an illustrated investigative text piece on June 23 and three radio reports on July 23, 24 and 25 from KQED.
With firsthand accounts from female janitorial workers who say they have been sexually abused by their coworkers and supervisors, the collaborative investigation tells the stories of the steep price many women in the janitorial industry pay to keep their jobs and provide for their families.
Many of the women have been terrified to report their alleged attackers — some for fear of being deported; others for fear they'll lose their jobs — so these cases are often difficult to prosecute.
From San Francisco’s Ferry Building, to the malls of Minnesota, to big box stores across the country, the investigative team — with correspondent Lowell Bergman, producers Andrés Cediel and Daffodil Altan, and reporters Bernice Yeung and Sasha Khokha — found violations across the janitorial industry involving companies large and small.
Drawing on interviews with the women themselves, an attorney for the federal agency that enforces sexual harassment laws in the workplace, and a watchdog group that monitors workplace conditions for janitors, the investigation sheds new light on an underreported problem — and reveals how employers have fallen short in dealing with it.
The project builds on Rape in the Fields/Violación de un Sueño, an earlier collaborative investigation that uncovered the sexual abuse of immigrant women working in America’s farms, fields, and factories. California enacted a bill to protect female farmworkers from sexual abuse in direct response to Rape in the Fields/Violación de un Sueño, and the investigation was honored with a duPont-Columbia Award and an Robert F. Kennedy Award.
Watch, read, and listen to Univision, FRONTLINE, IRP, Reveal from CIR and KQED's Rape on the Night Shift/Violación de un Sueño: Jornada Nocturna investigation which began on June 20 and continues on June 23 and July 4.
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