DAVAO CITY, Philippines— After the viral sexual attacks of pro-Marcos netizens a female teenager carrying an anti-Marcos burial placard, Gabriela Women’s Party and netizens condemned the inappropriate comments of the “online sexual harassers.”
Jelly May Malatabon, 26, believes that Marcos is not a hero and although she respects the Supreme Court’s ruling, the online sexual harassment against women protesters was uncalled for.
“It’s just plain rude.The female protester was there to protest against Marcos but the netizens who gave rude comments didn’t refute her stand. It all boils down to sexualizing the female target,” she said.
Malatabon said the sexual attackers have no clear argument to present that is why they ended up giving nasty comments.
“Pero kung babae ang kalaban, ang way sa pagbastos is ‘ipagang-bang na ito’ dayon ang iingon because they know na mao na ang area na makapa-atras sa mga babae (The attackers know that the way to silence women is to attack them sexually like saying ‘let’s gang bang her’),” she said.
Even a pro-Marcos youth said the sexual attacks against female protesters merit legal actions.
“It is an assassination point blank to the dignity of the young woman,” Vince Salado, 23, said.
He added that “a legal action should be done to prevent similar cases.”
Martial law time
In statement on Tuesday, Gabriela Rep. Emmi de Jesus compared the online sexual harassment received by young protester to the situation of women during the time of Martial Law which Marcos declared in 1972.
De Jesus said women during the martial law period suffered sexual abuse of varying forms in torture chambers and military safe houses.
“There are several accounts of how women were raped, molested and harassed as the Marcos dictatorship attempted to clamp down on protests and quell increasing women’s participation in the anti-fascist movement,” she said.
She said the comment in the social media to women protesters against the former dictator “violated the memories of women martyrs and victims during the martial law period.”
Fellow Gabriela partylist lawmaker, Rep. Arlene Brosas added that the sexist online bullying only urges young women to participate more in protests not just against Marcos’ burial, but also against “repressive and fascist policies” reminiscent of martial law.
“The current sexist online bullying will not stop women from taking part in snowballing protests,” she said.
Meanwhile, Gabriela party invites the public to participate in the International Day of Action for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on Friday, November 25.
During the protest, Brosas said they will call on President Rodrigo Duterte to rethink and undo the Supreme Court decision on approving Marcos’ hero’s burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
Bills seek to strengthen Anti-Rape law
Meanwhile, a lawmaker filed three bills dubbed as “Tres Marias” in a bid to strengthen the existing anti-rape law and protect women against sexual harassment.
Senator Risa Hontiveros filed Senate Bill 1252 or Anti-Rape Act, Senate Bill 1250 or the Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill and the Senate Bill 1251 or the Gender-based Electronic Violence on Tuesday. Hontiveros was joined by women’s rights advocate Dr. Sylvia Claudio and Anne Nicole Castro, who was one of the female protesters who received online sexual attacks on social media.
Hontiveros said that protective measures and strategic polices should be instituted against the current “rape culture” in the society which may lead to physical sexual assault and other forms of violence against women and children.
Under the Gender Based Electronic Violence Act, Hontiveros said that the act will penalize misogynistic and homophobic attacks on social media.
While the Anti-Rape Act mainly urged to raise the maximum age for female victims of statutory rape to 18 from 12 years old to emphasize the absence of consent as the main element of the crime over evidence of physical resistance and external injuries.
The Anti-Sexual Harassment Act seeks to amend the existing law and include offenses on peers and to other superiors and subordinates.
According to the data of Center for Women’s Resources a woman or child is raped every 53 minutes, while a woman or child is battered every 16 minutes.
Despite more than 37 laws for women, including the Magna Carta of Women, the CWR noted a 136 percent increase of sexual harassment cases four years from 2010 to 2014. (davaotoday.com)