UN Women urges people to report sexual harassment cases

Danielle Nakpil

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UN Women urges people to report sexual harassment cases
Many women experience sexual harassment, from catcalling to severe sexual misconduct. Advocates say they must fight and speak up.

MANILA, Philippines – Sexual harassment against women is still a tough battle to overcome but reporting it would be a step closer to victory.

According to United Nations (UN) Women’s Chang Jordan, it is about time that people, especially women, report sexual harassment and say, “Stop, that is wrong.”

Jordan was accompanied by artist and feminist Nikki Luna, Quezon City Administrator Aldrin Cuña, and the Institute of Politics and Governance’s Arline Santos in a Rappler Talk interview on Friday, November 24.

“Mostly when we say sexual harassment, it is a form of sexual violence, and it is violation against women’s rights,” explained Jordan to zero in on the vastness of what sexual harassment is.

According to Luna, the issue of sexual harassment is being heard more often now because more women are coming out, which according to her, is “a good move.”

Recently, several indie music artists in the Philippines came under fire after they were accused of sexual misconduct. (READ: What’s going on? A timeline of the indie music scene’s sexual misconduct scandal)

Jordan emphasized that stopping sexual harassment would mean a safer city not just for women, but for everyone. (READ: The many faces of sexual harassment in PH)

“We have to realize that it is street harassment, and it is not only for women. It is for everyone,” she said.

Ending sexual harassment

To eliminate sexual harassment cases in the streets, some local government units (LGUs), like Quezon City under its Gender and Development Ordinance, will fine people caught sexually harassing women in the city from P1,000 to P5,000.

“We are now scaling up the campaign to train the implementers of the law,” said Cuña. (READ: The streets that haunt Filipino women)

He also differentiated public sexual harassment from violence against women.

“Violence against women happens intimately. Public sexual harassment happens anywhere,” Cuña said. (READ: ‘Hi, sexy!’ is not a compliment)

In a 2016 study conducted by the Safe Cities Metro Manila program, 3 in 5 women said they have experienced sexual harassment at least once in their lifetime.

The same study also showed that one in 7 women experience it at least once a week.

Majority of sexual harassment cases were verbal but around 34% of women experienced groping and being harassed by public exposure, or flashing of private parts by men. 

The Philippine Commission on Women launched the “18-day campaign to end VAW” in line with the UN’s “UNITE to End VAW Campaign.”

Globally, 16 days of activism against gender violence is being observed – November 25 (International Day to Eliminate Violence Against Women) to December 10 (Human Rights Day). – Rappler.com

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