PDP Laban and Lone District of Siquijor Representative Rav Rocamora today filed a bill penalizing all forms of sexual harassment, whether in public or private, and whether online or offline.
“The SWS conducted a survey last year and I was shocked to learn that three out of five women have experienced sexual harassment at least once in their lifetime and that three out of five men in fact admit to committing some form of sexual harassment,” Rocamora shared. “And what is even more sickening is the top forms of sexual harassment they experienced were not only wolf-whistling or lascivious language but even exhibitionism and public masturbation!”
House Bill 5213, or the Comprehensive Anti-Sexual Harassment bill, will punish any person who commits acts ranging from cat-calling and repeated requests for a name and number to touching, flashing, public masturbation, and all analogous cases that evoke a sense of intimidation, hostility, offense, fear, or repulsion from the victim. The bill will also amend the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995 in order to remove the limitation to superior-subordinate relationships and expand it to cover any person in the workplace or educational institution.
“Currently, there are gaps in the law. The crimes covered in the Revised Penal Code for acts of lasciviousness and unjust vexation as well as the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act, the Cybercrime Prevention Act, and the Anti-Photo and Video Voyeurism Act are not enough to address the other instances of sexual harassment. In fact, most of these perverse acts happen on the streets and are done by total strangers. None of the laws I mentioned cover these circumstances,” the neophyte congressman explained.
The 2016 SWS Survey also revealed that 70% of sexual harassment were done by strangers, 58% were committed on the streets or alleys, and 70% were experienced during the day. Aside from the top forms of sexual harassment, the other forms included stalking, voyeurism, groping, rubbing, touching, cat-calling, indecent gestures, cyber violence, and sending of pornographic pictures and videos.
“In solidarity with our nation’s mothers, sisters, daughters, and for all of those who have been victimized by some form of sexual harassment, it is my hope that this bill will be passed and that our society will grow more decent in dealing with each other,” Rocamora concluded.