Implement an anti-catcalling ordinance in Metro Manila.
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Gender-based street and public spaces harassment such as catcalling, wolf-whistling, cursing, groping, requests for name and contact details and the use of words tending to ridicule on the basis of actual or perceived sex, gender expression or sexual orientation has been an issue in the Philippines. There is no doubt that there are drivers, vendors, and bystanders that would always check a girl out no matter what she is wearing, whether it is by catcalling, whistling or the infamous “hi ate” which would make a girl feel uncomfortable, scared, or even traumatized. We’ve awaken at the idea that society has taught women that when they draw attention to themselves, whatever happens – whether unwanted or not – as a result of that attention is their responsibility.
In 2015, a facebook post of a girl being catcalled in Manila went viral. She had noticed an uptick in catcalls and lewd stares when she wore dresses; in response, she posted a picture of herself in a cream dress with the words, “Is my dress provoking you?” written on it. In the accompanying post, she called for a change in culture, telling men: “It’s not about the way we dress; it’s about the way you look at us. Our bodies are not yours to look at and objectify.”
Quezon city has already implemented the same ordinance so why not try to take a step further and apply it also to Metro Manila which is considered the most centralized region in the Philippines diversely populated with students of different universities, employees of different companies, tourists, etc. wherein there are a lot of cases of these kind of “sympathetic” harassments, or as others see it as “compliments” which is being ignored by a lot of people especially women who feel vulnerable to this kind of issue.
The ordinance Mayor Herbert Bautista signed for Quezon City, the first local government in the country to penalize the street-level harassment of women will be applied in Metro Manila where there would be;
- An imposed fine and jail term for acts considered as sexual harassment of women in public areas.
- A campaign for awareness of the issue would be conducted in every barangay in Metro Manila.
- An open online reporting page for reports of such incidents.
- Help desks not only in precincts but also in schools and universities.
- Proper dissemination of info graphics regarding the anti-catcalling ordinance.
- Training of public officers about sensitivity to these issues and protocol for reporting the offenses.
- Orientation for women of all ages to be well aware of reporting incidents whether it is a major or minor offense.
Our goal is to make women feel at ease within the streets of Metro Manila without the fear of getting catcalled on sidewalks, elicit wolf-whistles on eskinitas, or “alleys,” receive lewd stares in public markets, and being physically harassed or objectified in public places in Metro Manila.
“An unwanted advance is an unwanted advance, because women know how easy it is for a small compliment to become dangerous. Why do we ask men not to catcall? For women to be able to feel safe, comfortable, and secure in our daily lives. No matter where we are and what we are wearing.” – Frankie Concepcion, Rappler.com
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