What in the hell is happening in this country? Not only is there a deadly virus ravaging every corner of the nation, but now, there has been a spike in complaints about landlords requesting that laid off employees pay their rent with sex acts. With the other option being homelessness, these sex predator landlords are banking on the fact that many single mothers will be left with no choice but to perform forced sex acts to keep a roof over their childrens’ heads.
According to NBC News:
Khara Jabola-Carolus, executive director of the Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women, said her office has received more reports of landlords sexually harassing their tenants in the last two weeks than it had in the two years since she started working there, including cases of landlords offering to move in with tenants and sending sexually explicit photos to them after they communicated concerns about paying April rent.
While the number of cases wasn’t necessarily astronomical — the commission received 10 reports about nine landlords — Jabola-Carolus said they were especially notable given such cases go “vastly underreported.”
Jabola-Carolus gave the following statement:
“Landlord coercion has always been a reality, but we’ve never seen anything like this. The coronavirus creates the perfect conditions for landlords who want to do this because not only are people being instructed to stay home, but the virus has added to the economic stress with people losing their jobs, especially in Hawaii, which is driven by tourism.”
NBC’s report continues:
Advocates like Renee Williams, a senior staff attorney at the National Housing Law Project, suspect that as tenants continue to struggle economically, there will be heightened reports of sexual harassment enacted by landlords in the upcoming months.
“Landlords have all the leverage in the landlord-tenant relationship and in these types of situations, they especially prey on women who are vulnerable, who are housing insecure, have bad credit or who don’t have anywhere to go. We’ve already seen that the pandemic is exacerbating a lot of systemic issues and sexual harassment targeted at tenants by landlords is likely to be one of these issues.”
“We want landlords to know we’re watching them and that women who are dealing with this are not alone. It’s really women who are holding every community right now. We’re the majority of health care, elder care and child care workers and coronavirus is highlighting the silence of oppression of women in the U.S. I could not even envision a more gendered crisis.”