“Being groped/catcalled is NEVER the victim’s fault, regardless of what they’re wearing.“
All commuting women would understand. Apart from the usual commuters’ problems people face everyday—the terrible traffic, the the long queues, the crammed vehicles, the bad road conditions—there is another awful thing women have to endure: perverts. And, the sad thing is, they are everywhere.From the catcallers, to the men who stare, and to—the worst one—those who have the actual guts to engage in physical contact, yup, female commuters have to endure dealing with these creeps every freaking day. Sad reality.
And that is exactly what happened to Facebook user Herlynn, as told in this social media post she shared. Here is what she wrote:
“May kkwento lang ako saglit. 5 minutes, tigil muna sa politics. Bear with me here, mahaba eh.
I finally wore my black and white criss cross backless dress without a cardi/blazer, a year after I bought it. Since the heat has been unbearable the past few weeks, I figured, why not wear it. It was a decent looking dress: it had sleeves, neckline wasn’t low, and its length went down to my knees. My whole back wasn’t exposed entirely; it had four tiny panels that showed parts of my upper back. Although my mom was hesitant I leave the house without a cover up, I told her, “ma okay lang ako.”
Lo and behold, my mom’s concern was put to reality earlier today. While standing inside a bus on my way to Makati, the guy next to me literally grazed my back from top to bottom. Literal, himas. He didn’t even try to be subtle. So I screamed profanities at him and made sure I was disgusted by him. His response, and I am not kidding you, was, “Eh bakit ka magsusuot ng backless kung di mo papahimas yan?”
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, such a vile creature exists at this day and age. And he had this confused look on his face like he couldn’t believe I was mad at him. Then two guys sa may likod ko gave their seats sa akin. Eh etong si kuyang perv, umupo pa sa tabi ko! So I tried to take a few photos of him but he kept pushing my hand away. I told him if he doesn’t stop I’ll report him to the police since I had a photo of his face na (kahit wala naman talaga, nananakot lang ako haha), then he just lowered his head like this. Then the conductor of the bus approached him and asked him to leave, and he did.
Conductor then asked me, “Wala ka ba jacket?” Sabi ko kay kuya, “Wala eh. Kailangan ba? Ang init eh.” Sabi ni kuya “Para di ka sana nababastos”. Every nerve in my body wanted to slap him. Akala ko gets nya na eh. So I answered him, “Kuya, pangaralan mo yung nambastos, hindi yung nabastos”. He walked away. I wanted to cry.
It was more than difficult handling what had happened than the other occurences that I had experienced, mainly because I could not believe the blame was still put on me after being harrassed – and embarassed – publicly. Magsuot man ako ng gym clothes/corporate attire, my choice of clothing would not matter sa taong bastos at walang modo. Being groped/catcalled is NEVER the victim’s fault, regardless of what they’re wearing, and blaming them for what had happened to them’s another way of saying you tolerate the deed. What’s also concerning is the fact that some people think it’s okay to do such things. So please, please lang, if you see it happen, apprehend it. Kahit di nyo kilala, if you see it happen, do your best to stop it kasi apparently may mga taong walang self-control, so others have to do it for them. Masakit po ang mabastos, nakakatakot, and alam ko ayaw nyong mangyari to sa mga mahal nyo sa buhay.
Ang masagwa sa nangyari, it can and will happen again, but I have no control over it. I mean it’s not like I can control the buses I ride on nor the people who go in and out. It’s a risky thing we deal with every single day, kahit di naman dapat. So I am begging anyone who would read this to hopefully have the same fighting spirit in battling public sexual harrasment as you have when vouching for your candidates.
UPDATE 05/02/16: I did not think this post would reach as far as it did. Some of those who have shared this also enclosed a caption of their own experiences, while some of those who have read this have either sent me a private message sharing their experiences, or posted it here on the comments section. Ang point ko sa paggawa nito’y para maparamdam ko sa lahat – babae, lalaki, LGBT, bata, matanda, etc – na it’s okay for you to speak up. Problema sa society natin ngayon, natatakot tayong magsalita tungkol sa mga ganitong bagay kasi baka pagsabihan na wag maginarte. If any of you feel the need to share your experience, share it. If it has to be me then so be it. I am more than willing to listen to anyone who wants to be heard. I appreciate the positivity and encouragement I am getting from most of you. And here’s hoping the next chapter of this country would involve a leader who would address issues like this and prioritize it.”
What do you think of this story? Have you had the same experience? How did you deal with it?