Words by Bea Lizarondo Soliman
There was this video that surfaced on social media quite recently. The video features this male and two other male friends in a vehicle stating their takes on sexual harassment towards women; a woman, who sits in the passenger seat, is also with them and attempts to share her thoughts on the matter but is often talked over by the male company. Watch the video here: https://twitter.com/biebersangxl/status/1088798610462896128
From this video, it can be seen that these three males have this notion that the amount of respect a woman receives is highly dependent on the type of clothing a woman wears, and if a woman is dressed in seemingly “indecent” clothing, the woman must prepare herself to be subjected to disrespectful remarks or is just, at this point, wanting to be disrespected. At the beginning of the video, one of them even addresses women by saying: “Kung ayaw niyo mabastos, please lang respetuhin niyo muna yung mga sarili niyo.”
As a response to this video, which also reflects highly prevalent thinking in Philippine society, I asked women to share with me their worst street sexual harassment or cat-calling experiences together with the type of clothing they were wearing while this experience was occurring. Read these, and be the judge of whether or not sexual harassment is still the victim’s fault:
14. I was still in my pajamas.
“It was morning, and my mother asked me to buy pandesal for breakfast. I had just woken up, so I was still in my pajamas. When I was walking towards the place, a few vehicles passed by, kept honking at me, and were throwing the usual ‘Hi, miss!’ or ‘Isang ngiti naman diyan, ate!’ remarks. I say usual, because I have unfortunately heard these remarks numerous times before that I have become accustomed to the discomfort. However, one truck driver among all those repulsive drivers said a remark so disgusting and so vile that I can never forget: ‘Uy, miss! Mukhang masikip ka pa ha!’”
13. I was wearing our school uniform with a jacket pa.
“I was cat-called outside my school once – as in directly outside the gate. A jeep stopped because of the red light, and the man sitting in the seat beside the driver looked in my direction and went, ‘Ate, ang sarap mo!’ I was wearing our school uniform with a jacket pa. It was disgusting. I knew it was directed at me, because we were let out early, and I was the only one standing outside the gate during that time.”
12. We were wearing pants and shirts.
“Although hindi sakin nangyari but sa friend ko, share ko pa rin. Nasa motorcade kami nun. Nakaupo kami sa parang haligi ng pick-up truck, so medyo nakalagpas nang kaunti yung butt namin dun sa pinakahaligi. We were wearing pants and shirts. May nadaanan kaming mga tambay, tas may isa na nagsabi nang ‘Uy, miss!’ sabay akma na hahawakan yung pwet ng friend ko.”
11. I was wearing a loose shirt and a skirt.
“A bunch of kids who didn’t even look like they were ten years old told me: ‘Hi, ate! Sexy mo naman.’ I was wearing a loose shirt and a skirt.”
10. I wear loose shirts and loose shorts up to my knees.
“Since I’m a tomboy, I wear boyish clothes. I wear loose shirts and loose shorts up to my knees. It just happened the other day. I was done shooting with a friend, and we were walking back to their house when a random guy said hi to me. I said hi back without hesitating, because I thought it was someone I knew; but when I got a glimpse of his face, he was grinning. I realized he wasn’t someone I knew. I hurriedly went back to my friend’s house. When we were leaving, that same guy was a few feet away from my friend’s house. I tried avoiding him, but when I passed by him, he said, ‘Kaganda naman neto.’ I didn’t want to double check if he was pertaining to me, but my friend did a double take then looked at me. I don’t know – I never knew this would happen to me. I always thought my boyish actions and looks would repel cat-calls, but I was wrong.”
9. I was wearing my school uniform.
“I was cat-called in a tricycle. I was with two of my friends – yung isa sa likod ng driver umupo and yung isa katabi ko. Nauna friends ko bumaba; I was fixing my things pa kasi. I was wearing my school uniform. While I was fixing my things, pinuri nung driver yung legs ko. He then asked me (non-verbatim) if I had experienced having sex already.”
8. Naka-bistida pa ako.
“Mga eleven years old lang ako non. Naka-bistida pa ako. Palakad ako papuntang simabahan nung may matanda na nagsabi sakin, ‘Punyeta! Ang ganda naman neto. Ano pangalan mo?’ Ang laki nung ngiti niya non, tapos yung ngiti niya yung alam mong pang-manyak. Tiningnan ko lang siya. Nung di ko siya pinansin, sumigaw siya. Don na ako natakot. Sabi niya, ‘Putangina. Kinakausap ka eh.’ Natakot na talaga ako non, tapos tumakba nalang ako papuntang simabahan. Di na ko dumaan sa part na yun sa amin pagkatapos nun.”