Demonstrators Block L Street, Protest ‘Rape on the Night Shift’

SACRAMENTO -- Protesters rallied in Downtown Sacramento on Friday, demanding Gov. Jerry Brown sign legislation they believe will protect female janitors from being sexually assaulted on the job.

The demonstration briefly shut down L Street outside State Capitol building early Friday afternoon. Many were prepared to be arrested, and at least nine were taken into custody.

"I'm a survivor," demonstrator Marilyn Ruvio said.

Ruvio took part in a five-day march from San Francisco to bring attention to the issue. She says, as a custodial worker, her supervisor sexually assaulted and harassed her.

"He ripped my clothes and I was fighting with him," she said.

The group chanted and sang on their way to the governor’s office, dropping off a copy of the bill they’re pushing -- AB 2079.

“AB 2079 would empower immigrant janitors to train other immigrant janitors about what their rights are," SEIU-USWW Secretary-Treasurer Alejandra Valles said.

The message is also for women workers to feel empowered and stop suffering in silence.

"We were well received. They recognized the efforts of these heroes - 'sheroes' - and they said they would deliver the petition to Governor Brown," SEIU-USWW President David Huerta said. "They're sending a message to all immigrant women out there that their voice is being heard."

AB 2079 is called the Janitor Survivor Empowerment Act. It would require janitors to serve as peer educators who would train their co-workers on sexual harassment prevention in the workplace.

The union leaders who organized the rally say they will continue to fight regardless of whether or not the governor signs the bill.