“Freedom of speech yun. Nagagandahan lang sila sayo“. One of the lamest excuse I’ve heard defending catcalls and harassment. You know what’s disappointing? This excuse comes from the mouth of a woman. Who’s probably been victimized countless of times. Too much that it turned this woman into a hopeless case of Stockholm Syndrome to think that catcalling and harassment is a norm. But in reality? It’s part of toxic masculinity culture. Years of patriarchal society that has to change once and for all.
Too much that it turned this woman into a hopeless case of Stockholm Syndrome to think that catcalling and harassment is a norm.
Every freaking day random guys from security guards, construction workers, truck drivers, and DOMs would oggle, catcall, look at women with lusting eyes. I’ve been observant. SICK. I don’t know how these men were raised by their mothers but how can they prey on women like they’re beneath them? I’ve had too much that I created a video tutorial on “How to Avoid Catcalling in the Streets”
It’s just exhausting. Don’t you agree? But what can we do about it? Is there a law that protects us? Is it being implemented?
Safe Streets and Public Spaces Bill
Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any political party. My participation are for my advocacies and broadening my knowledge/influence.
Last January 12 2018, I was invited to participate in a roundtable discussion on the Safe Spaces Bill and the recently passed HIV and AIDS law with fellow bloggers, students, Senator Risa Hontiveros, and Congressman Tom Villarin. The latter government servants are the champions of the mentioned bill.
The said bill could be approved for third and final reading in the House of Representatives next week.
“The Safe Streets and Public Spaced Bill is for men as much as it is for women and the LGBT. Little by little, we are beginning to dismantle toxic masculinity, the mindset that men have to exert abusive power and commit harassment against women to feel ‘manly’. We are trying to liberate men from this medieval mindset,” Senator Risa Hontiveros said.
Here’s what we know about the bill so far:
“The fact that sexual harassment in public spaces are so common makes it more serious.” Congressman Tom Villarin added.
You know what’s more disappointing? I heard during this round table that there are some government officials who are not taking this law as important as others. There are still folks from the legislative na super traditional pa din magisip and assumes catcalling is still normal.
There was also a brief discussion on RA11166 Philippine HIV and AIDS policy law that aims to not only raise awareness but provide health care for victims. However it is also mentioned that there is decreasing budget for DOH and DEPED. Frustrating right? We can only hope for the best.
Safe Spaces Bill in a Nutshell
- Penalizes: Cat-calling, whistling, homophobic or transphobic slurs
- Age-appropriate educational modules for children in schools
- A more comprehensive system of defining sexual harassment in public spaces and the corresponding penalties
Senator Risa further explained that penalties may include tickets ala-traffic violation to harassers as long as the crime is reported to the authorities. Scope and degree of penalties is still under discussion.
I was curious and asked them what is their pro-active approach on the toxic masculinity. Since giving tickets and penalties is re-active. This is where number 2 comes in and I hope this is implemented correctly. The age appropriated modules for children in schools.
The school, primary education. Serves as the second home of the children. This is where their foundation is built on how they become better adults in the future. If we start teaching them RESPECT and EQUALITY at a young age, there may be hope for a better future.
If we start teaching them RESPECT and EQUALITY at a young age, there may be hope for a better future.
Passing the Safe Spaces bill is only the beginning. Implementation is key. Writing the law can only do so much, I hope more people would support this advocacy for respect and gender equality.