The Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) strongly supports the proposal to conduct an investigation of sexual harassment cases allegedly committed in a beauty pageant. Senate Resolution No. 932 calls for a probe on the recent Miss Earth pageant where three of the candidates claimed that they were abused by one of the pageant’s event sponsors.
The 2017 National Demographic and Health Survey revealed that 5% of women aged 15-49 have experienced sexual violence. The Commission believes that the probe will not only shed light on the matter, but likewise pave the way to determine whether there are policy gaps pertaining to sexual harassment and gender-based violence that need to be addressed.
The PCW also expresses concern over recent events which reveal that the media and entertainment industry are also becoming unsafe for women due to vulnerability to sexual harassment and violence.
Sexual harassment is a form of gender-based violence usually experienced by women and children. It instills fear and curtails the victim's right to liberty and security. No person, regardless of sex, age, race, social status, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity, or other affiliation deserves to be sexually harassed or abused.
We laud the women who speak out about such harassment, and call on relevant government agencies to probe and prosecute offenders, and at the same time provide the necessary support for healing and empowerment. We encourage other victims to come forward, to report to authorities, and to pursue justice.
We also call on our legislators to strengthen legal protection of persons against sexual offenses and expand the current Anti-Sexual Harassment Law to include street harassment like catcalling, unnecessary touching, stalking, or other acts which tend to demean or threaten a woman’s security outside workplaces and educational and training institutions.
Sexual violence should never be tolerated. Everyone — victim-survivors, witnesses — men and women alike — must unite to put an end to these insidious acts.