Young actress Liza Soberano couldn’t help but get sentimental over the things that are happening right now, relating her feelings via a heartwarming speech she delivered at a recent webinar organized by the youth arm of the women’s rights group Gabriela.
There, she spoke about the “tragedies and hardships happening not only to women and children, but to a lot of people in general.”
She related how much she was affected coming across a tweet by Sen. Risa Hontiveros, talking about the growing number of online sexual exploitation cases involving children during the pandemic.
“I know that I haven’t been the most vocal about my opinions and about the advocacies that I feel very strong for, because I was always afraid that I would be dividing my supporters. I was afraid of creating conflict,” she related. “Ang paniniwala ko po dati na pag artista ka, dapat umiiwas ka sa lahat ng issues. Dapat we just keep talking about our craft, and the next movie we’re making and everything. Kasi, I was afraid that people would judge me. They would say, what do I know, I’m just a girl, I’m just an actress.”
She then recalled the abuse she experienced from a netizen not so long ago.
“But then I realized, especially, most recently when there was someone who made a sexual abuse comment towards me… I realized the impact of me standing up for myself, especially after I filed a criminal case against somebody who made a rape joke against me,” she added, turning emotional.
“Sorry, I get kind of emotional… Because I’ve had the experience — not firsthand experience. I’m actually privileged and blessed to have… I’m getting so emotional. Sorry.”
Liza noted how she knows a lot of women who have struggled with this.
She finds it so “unfair” that women, have to go out every day with the fear of being catcalled.
“I fear that my nieces and future children won’t be able to go out into a safe environment. That’s why I find it so important to start spreading awareness to the future generations, as early as now, so that we can create a better future for everyone,” she said. “The norm of society has conditioned women and children to stay quiet when dealing with hardships and struggles because nobody is going to do anything anyway. Yet why do they also expect us women and children, to remain resilient through these struggles?”
Liza declared how change cannot be just the responsibility of the people who need it most.
“As a woman, as a Filipino artist, I think that women and influencers alike should start speaking up. They can contribute not only awareness about these issues, but also encouragement and confidence to our fellow women and children — that they need to learn to stand up for themselves,” she maintained.
“I know it’s easier said than done and not all of us have the luxury or the confidence or power or support system to do so. But based on my own experience, when I saw more and more of my friends starting to speak up about issues that mattered to them — like Ate Angel Locsin, or even my idols Angelina Jolie and Emma Watson — it empowers me and it gives me the courage to start speaking up about these issues, too. Because they matter, and we need to start seeing change in the world.”
Liza delivered the speech as part of Gabriela Youth’s “Tinig ni Nene: Reclaiming Our Voice on the International Day of the Girl Child” event.