Entry Category: 26. New Approaches: Documentaries
Title of Webcast/Broadcast: Rape in the Fields
Title of Story or Report: "Hidden in the Harvest" and "Whispers from the Field"
Running Time: 00:09:54; 00:05:09
Production Company: The Center for Investigative Reporting, Off/Page Project
Date content was originally made available for viewing (must be in 2013): June 25, 2013; August 8, 2013
Original URL (if applicable):




“Hidden in the Harvest” and “Whispers from the Field” are two short videos based on Rape in The Fields, an investigation into the high price many migrant women pay to put food on their families’ tables.

There are more than half a million women, mostly migrants, working in America’s agricultural industry. Many are sexually harassed, threatened and, in some cases, assaulted on the job, according to the investigation.

The Center for Investigative Reporting, the Investigative Reporting Program at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, FRONTLINE and Univision collaborated on Rape in the Fields. The reporting team discovered that hundreds of female agricultural workers have complained to the federal government about being raped, assaulted and harassed on the job, while law enforcement has done almost nothing to investigate the cases. The investigation resulted in a documentary, “Rape in the Fields,” that aired on FRONTLINE and Univision in English and Spanish, respectively.

Many of the women contacted by our reporters did not feel comfortable going “on the record.” In some cases, they had never discussed what happened to them with anyone, including their families. To tell their stories and to break the cycle of silence and shame surrounding the abuse of migrant workers, CIR produced “Hidden in the Harvest” and worked with the Off/Page Project to produce “Whispers from the Field.”

Both videos are designed to reach audiences that may not have seen the documentary, including younger viewers and viewers who may not have cable TV. Both were produced in English and Spanish. Both were based on information uncovered in the investigation.

Using voice actors reading from interview transcripts and animation, “Hidden in the Harvest” provides three harrowing accounts of women’s experiences on farms and in food processing facilities. “Whispers from the Field” blends the personal style of spoken-word poetry with the rigors of deeply reported investigative journalism. Poet Monica Mendoza worked closely with reporters Bernice Yeung and Grace Rubenstein to ensure the poem accurately reflected the experiences of abused female farmworkers.

CIR and FRONTLINE posted “Hidden in the Harvest” on their websites. The video also was posted on The I Files YouTube Channel.

“Whispers from the Field” was published in conjunction with the launch of the Off/Page Project in August 2013. The Off/Page Project combines the analytical lens of The Center for Investigative Reporting with the storytelling of the literary nonprofit Youth Speaks. The video was posted on the websites for CIR, the Off/Page Project and on The I Files.