Investigative journalist Bernice Yeung exposes the epidemic of sexual violence levied against women farmworkers, domestic workers, and janitorial workers and charts their quest for justice in the workplace.
Yeung’s reporting achieves a balance rare in public interest journalism: She tells compelling stories that illustrate systemic problems without reducing people to mere players in a legal argument. She skillfully knits case studies into rigorous policy analysis. Most important, Yeung traces paths toward progress beyond merely raising awareness ... She also illustrates the high stakes her sources must consider before speaking about abuse ... Yeung’s book nonetheless helps break that silence ... Though it was begun well before the latest wave of the Me Too movement, In a Day’s Work nonetheless lands at a perfect time to inform the conversation.
Even while describing experiences many publications might package as trauma porn, Yeung never lets larger structures out of sight: The story here is not about individual pathologies but the power differentials that enable abusers to act on their impulses and get away with it ... As pundits opine about #MeToo in the pages of every major newspaper, Yeung does something better: Rather than give her own view on how to solve the scourge of sexual violence, she shows us what these workers themselves have been doing to address it ... The risks are too high for most undocumented, low-wage workers. And even if they do speak, who will listen? This is why Yeung’s framing is so critical: What helps the women in this book is not speech alone, cathartic as it may be. It is the organizers around them, often low-wage immigrant workers themselves, who ensure that survivors can speak without fear—and that others will hear them ... In a Day’s Work shows us how to stamp out sexual violence.
Bernice Yeung relates stories like Hernandez’s with candor and compassion in her new book, In a Day’s Work. She balances them with comprehensive research on labor law, rape and sexual assault legislation, and the additional burdens borne by undocumented women workers ... Though these stories are heartbreaking, the book ends on a hopeful note ... Yeung’s book provides crucial information and insight about this 'long-held open secret,' making it a must-read for union organizers, advocates, policy makers and legislators — and all of us.