By Czarina Nicole Ong Ki
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has raised the alarm over the prevalence of victim-blaming in social media, especially in light of the rape threat made to the daughter of Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan and the Facebook post made by the Lucban Municipal Police Station which suggested that women refrain from wearing sultry clothes so as not to invite the advances of sex offenders.
“Lubhang nakababahala ang paglaganap ng victim-blaming sa panahong ito. Nakababahala at nakaaalarma na bagama’t tayo ay may mga batas na nagbabawal sa anumang uri ng diskriminasyon at karahasan laban sa mga kababaihan, maging online o offline, laganap pa rin ito. (The prevalence of victim-blaming is extremely worrisome during this time. It is alarming that although we have laws that prohibit any kind of discrimination and violence against women, whether online or offline, it is still widespread),” said CHR Commissioner Karen S. Gomez-Dumpit.
Gomez-Dumpit said that Pangilinan’s daughter is just one of the many “hijas (girls)” who experience harassment and abuse in the country. While there are many laws that address violations against women, she lamented that these are not well-implemented.
“Hindi lamang komentaryo tungkol sa pananamit ang kanilang natanggap, kundi pati banta ng panggagahasa. Dito makikita kung gaano kalaganap ang gender-based violence sa social media. (They receive not only comments about their clothing, but also receive threats of rape. This only goes to show how widespread gender-based violence is on social media),” said Gomez-Dumpit.
Popular personalities who are dictating how women should act, dress, and present themselves are not helping either. Gomez-Dumpit said they are only aggravating the victim-blaming culture, and their continuous posts of misogynistic remarks are proof that there is lack of government action on violence against women.
As Gender Ombud, the CHR is urging law enforcement agencies, particularly the police cybercrime units, to address the rampant violence against women on social media. Gomez-Dumpit stressed that posting misogynistic remarks and comments that encourage victim-blaming and other forms of violence is illegal.
“Kailangang matanggal ang mga social media pages na nagpapalaganap ng karahasan laban sa kababaihan. Karapatan ng mga babae ang maging ligtas sa karahasan, offline o online, mabigyang proteksyon, at matugunan ang kanilang mga reklamo (Social media pages that promote violence against women need to be removed. Women have the right to be safe from violence, whether offline or online, and to be protected, and have their complaints addressed),” she said.
At the same time, the CHR expressed willingness to cooperate with the various branches of government in order to curb these atrocities. One such way that women can be protected from gender-based violence is to report perpetrators at https://www.gbvcovid.report/.
“Ang pagre-report ay hindi lamang napakahalagang bahagi ng adhikaing masupil at malabanan ang karahasan laban sa kababaihan, maaaring ito ang magsalba ng buhay ng isang biktima (Reporting is not just an important part of the campaign to control and counter violence against women, it can save the life of a victim,” said Gomez-Dumpit.