Safe Spaces For All
Safe Spaces For All
Together, let us reclaim #SafeSpacesForAll
SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND OBJECTIFICATION ARE NOT FUNNY.
We, women bikers and commuters, do not feel safe in streets and online spaces.
A recent viral post that showed photos of bikers coincidentally captured on a camera looking at a woman simply passing by was full of disrespectful memes and commentaries on the woman’s body. This raised concerns on how people defend and tolerate the culture of objectifying women. These kinds of behavior are reflected offline and are not helping our fears of being harassed, sexualized, and assaulted in the streets. Our bodies and what we wear are not, and will never be, consent for disrespect.
Since the ECQ started, more people, especially women, have gone out of their comfort zones as a necessity to survive. This situation left the majority of us with no choice but to bike long distances alongside aggressive motorists that are owning the roads and the designated bike lanes. Bikers are faced with road hazards and there are not enough provisions and well-planned active transport infrastructures making us always vulnerable to accidents.
As women, dealing with everyday road struggles while also encountering sexual predators and perpetrators of abuse worsens our overall travel experience. We are offended when we are catcalled, ridiculed, and invalidated. It is frustrating that we are repeatedly disrespected and blamed for what we do and wear. But we know that we can only feel safe if all of us work together to make it our goal.
We call for the full implementation of the Safe Spaces Act (RA 11313). Three years after passage of this law, we ask the Philippine Commission on Women to publicly disclose which LGUs have not yet adopted a counterpart ordinance, in accordance with Section 8 of the Safe Spaces Act, and we call on LGUs nationwide to begin the safety audit as mandated by Section 34 of the same law. We demand that the promise of equality, security, and safety on streets and all other public spaces be fully enforced.
We also ask that the House of Representatives, as well as the Senate, fast-track the enactment of the Proposed Philippine Bicycle Act. All of us have the right to be safe - on the road, on our bikes, and in spaces whether offline or online.
The Internet should not be a means to break boundaries, but it should be an extension of humanity where everyone builds inclusive and safer spaces even from distances away.
This is also a call for public institutions to protect us from all forms of harassment, including catcalling, unwanted sexual remarks, and misogynistic comments, no matter where we are.
We encourage everyone to take action and show utmost respect and support to every commuter encountered - may they be a child, woman, man, member of the LGBTQ+, or a person with a disability to cultivate safer communities. Our roads are meant to be shared with the public to help us move around especially in the time of the pandemic. There is nothing wrong with slowing down and giving way to people who are in need.
Cycling communities and other private stakeholders must step up and aim for solidarity in creating, maintaining, and promoting safe spaces, together with educating each other about a culture of respect.
TOGETHER, LET US RECLAIM #SAFESPACESFORALL