MANILA, Philippines – Another beauty queen has spoken out against sexual harassment.
Following the Miss Earth controversy where several candidates accused a pageant sponsor of sexual harassment, Miss International 2013 Bea Rose Santiago talked about her own experiences of being molested and harassed by various men.
“Sexual Harassment IS REAL. NOT JUST IN PAGEANTS BUT EVERYWHERE!” Bea wrote on Facebook, before detailing several incidents, starting from when she was a child.
“I was molested when I was a child by a priest. He is still preaching somewhere in Masbate,” she wrote.
She also said that when she was 12 years old, a 21-year-old “pageant guy winner” would make inappropriate comments, implying his interest in her by telling her that she was born too late for him.
Santiago claimed that a “well known CEO” once touched her inappropriately, and that she met him again when she was a pageant candidate. She said that while the organizers made sure the candidates were safe, the man continued “talking nonsense” to them.
In another incident, she recalled how a middle aged man she was working with touched her inappropriately, even after she tried protecting herself.
Aside from going through these experiences herself, Santiago also witnessed the harassment of others, saying that she saw another pageant queen being touched inappropriately during a photo op. (She could no longer exactly recall whether it happened at the Congress or Senate.)
“She immediately told me (with a help me look) so I put my hand covering her back protecting her from the ‘old well known perv,’” Santiago said. “We just won an international pageant but still.”
Santiago stressed that sexual harassment happens, no matter how careful someone is.
“No matter how Big/ popular/ old/ ‘religious’ a person is, HE CAN STILL BE A PERVERT,” she said.
She ended her post by sharing her regret that she did not speak up sooner, file complaints, or slap the perpetrators.
“I guess speaking up now will help the future Queens,” she said, expressing her hope that she won’t regret coming forward.
Santiago is one among several beauty queens who have recently spoken up about their experiences of sexual harassment.
Earlier in November, Miss Earth 2018 candidates Jaime VandenBerg, Abbey-Anne Gyles-Brown, and Emma Mae Sheedy claimed that pageant sponsor Amado Cruz of made inappropriate sexual advances towards them throughout the competition. (READ: Miss Earth 2018 candidates accuse sponsor of sexual harassment)
They accused him of repeatedly calling and asking the candidates for their hotel room details, making some of the women take “sultry photos,” asking for sexual favors in exchange for getting ahead in the competition, and even grabbing the backside of one of the candidates.
Cruz has denied the allegations, and a Miss Earth staff member said he was “too old and weak” to have done what he is being accused of.
On November 12, Senator Risa Hontiveros filed a resolution calling for a probe into the incidents. – Rappler.com
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