Announcement

Amid the National Conversation About Sexual Harassment, “Rape on the Night Shift” Examines Abuse of Women in the Janitorial Industry

January 9, 2018

An Updated Version of the Groundbreaking 2015 Investigation from FRONTLINE, IRP, Univision, Reveal from CIR, and KQED will air Jan. 16 on PBS

Rape on the Night Shift
Tuesday, January 16, 2018, at 10 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings)
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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 on the job.

With women around the country coming forward with accounts of sexual assault and misconduct by men in politics, media and entertainment, FRONTLINE on January 16 will present an updated version of its collaborative investigation revealing sexual abuse in the janitorial industry, Rape on the Night Shift (check local PBS listings).

Following up on the award-winning collaboration that produced Rape in the Fields/Violación de un Sueño in 2013, this 2015 investigation from FRONTLINE (PBS), the Investigative Reporting Program (IRP) at UC Berkeley, Univision, Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR), and KQED found that immigrant women working as janitors are particularly vulnerable to sexual violence, and that many are afraid to come forward about abuse out of fear they’ll lose their jobs or be deported.

Despite those risks, women went on camera in Rape on the Night Shift (and Violación de un Sueño: Jornada Nocturna, Univision’s Spanish-language version of the documentary) to break their silence, and also shared their stories in radio and text pieces: “I felt trapped in a world where I could not speak,” Leticia Zuniga, a night shift janitor, told the investigative team about her alleged assault by her manager. “More than anything, I thought about my kids. That’s why I endured so many awful things.”

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. With firsthand accounts from female janitorial workers like Zuniga who say they have been sexually abused by their coworkers and supervisors, the collaborative investigation explores the steep price many women in the janitorial industry pay to keep their jobs and provide for their families, and examines why such cases are often difficult to prosecute.

The updated film also explores how the government, businesses and law enforcement are responding to the problem — and how they reacted to the Rape on the Night Shift investigation itself: “I was sad. I was angered. And I wanted to do what we could do, from the state, to be able to protect these women,” says California Congresswoman Lorena Gonzalez, who introduced a bill requiring sexual harassment training for all janitors in the state, directly inspired by the investigation. Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill into law in 2016.

As the #MeToo conversation spreads beyond the worlds of Hollywood, media and politics, Rape on the Night Shift is a powerful look at the impact of sexual abuse on some of the most vulnerable women in the workforce. Watch an updated version of Rape on the Night Shift Tuesday, January 16 on PBS stations nationwide (check local listings), and visit the Investigative Reporting Program (IRP) at UC Berkeley, Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR), Univision, and KQED to explore related multiplatform reporting – including updated radio and text pieces from Reveal and KQED.

Credits
Rape on the Night Shift is a Cine Boa LLC production for WGBH/FRONTLINE and Univision in association with the Investigative Reporting Program at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting, and KQED. The correspondent is Lowell Bergman. The producers are Daffodil Altan and Andrés Cediel. The writers are Lowell Bergman & Andrés Cediel. The reporters are Bernice Yeung and Sasha Khokha. The executive producer of FRONTLINE is Raney Aronson-Rath. 

About FRONTLINE
FRONTLINE, U.S. television’s longest running investigative documentary series, explores the issues of our times through powerful storytelling. FRONTLINE has won every major journalism and broadcasting award, including 89 Emmy Awards and 20 Peabody Awards. Visit pbs.org/frontline and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Tumblr and Google+ to learn more. FRONTLINE is produced by WGBH Boston and is broadcast nationwide on PBS. Funding for FRONTLINE is provided through the support of PBS viewers and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Major funding for FRONTLINE is provided by The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Additional funding is provided by the Park Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Wyncote Foundation, and the FRONTLINE Journalism Fund with major support from Jon and Jo Ann Hagler on behalf of the Jon L. Hagler Foundation.

Press Contact
FRONTLINE, Patrice Taddonio, Patrice_taddonio@wgbh.org, @ptaddonio, 617.300.5375

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