A little over a year has passed since actress Sunshine Cruz and her eldest daughter Angelina, 18, were victims of online sexual harassment. This time around, Sunshine and all her three daughters, Angelina, Sam, 15, and Chesca, 14, have been the hot topic among boys online. Sexual comments were made on the four women, including the youngest girls who are minors, by these teenage boys. Though this scenario isn’t new to this mother-of-three, she admits that this recent harassment is the worst, by far. In an interview with Manila Bulletin Lifestyle, she shared that “our photos were already edited. Unfortunately, with this pandemic, instead of people being nice, some have been showing their mean side. It’s sad to know they are getting worse.”
Sunshine has been on lockdown, away from her daughters, with the rest of the Love Thy Woman cast for three weeks when friends and followers started sending photos of this recent online harassment. “I only found out from Macky (her boyfriend) that my daughters have been messaging and tweeting about this issue,” she explains. “The fact that they posted their status on Twitter—I knew they were having a hard time.”
Without hesitation, she apologized to her daughters and said sorry for filling up her social media feed with photos of them. “They are my life and my best friends. We are always together, so that’s what I post. They are my inspiration and I’m very proud of my children,” says Sunshine who shared that her children reassured her that none of this was her fault. “Don’t feel bad if you post our photos,” her daughters reminded her.
Despite being apart when this happened, Sunshine shares that she “feels blessed and grateful that my kids are really smart enough to handle this situation. I have raised them to be strong and brave.” Constant communication is the key to making sure everyone is okay. “The kids know I really care for them and that I will always support and love them, even if I’m far away.”
When asked about how she feels toward this incident, she says, “Of course, I am upset. It’s not funny that people share and edit your photos, even making fun of you and your children, especially when two of them are minors.” Against the majority who advised her to keep quiet, she chose to be vocal by taking a stand. “I slept on and prayed about it, but I just had to do something. It’s too much already. We aren’t hurting anyone, and I think it’s really unfair for my children to be going through this,” she laments.
She has been home since her birthday on July 18, and she has been resting from taping straight for a month. But next week is a different story. “I will be meeting with my lawyer about our options, I cannot allow this to happen, and I promised my kids that I would fix this. I cannot be quiet about this. These sexual predators have to learn how to respect women, especially on social media,” she says. “I’m a single mom. I’m the only one my kids have. Ayaw ko naman maramdaman nila na wala silang kakampi (I don’t want them to feel they don’t have me as their ally), especially now that they need me to be there for them. I will always protect and support them.”
Memos from Mom
Raising three wonderful girls can be a daunting task for any parent. Sunshine reminds her daughters these six notes that every woman should live by.
1. Know your worth.
I used to be happy when the people I love are happy. I forget myself and my own happiness. It was only when I separated from my ex-husband in 2013 that I realized I should know my worth. I should love myself more, and prioritize myself. It really made a big difference. I started to exercise and take care of myself. When you do that, that’s the time the right people will start to approach you and, eventually, love you. I really believe you have to love yourself first before other people do.
2. Just go on with your lives.
Wala naman tayong tinatapakan na tao at sinasaktan. We’re not hurting anyone with what we do.
3. Keep communication lines open.
I always tell them to open up to me if they have doubts and worries. Malaking bagay yun.
4. Always pray.
I’ve had so many trials in my life. Without prayers and without God, I don’t think I could have overcome all the trials I have gone through. Prayers are really important.
5. Surround yourself with the right people.
Be with friends who will support you and will always be there for you—not just during the good times.
6. Find someone who respects women.
When my daughters grow up and are ready to have a relationship, please make sure to find someone who respects women. Women should be loved and cared for, and treated with respect.