TOUCH ME, NOT
is the English translation of ‘Noli Me Tangere’. A borrowed title I adapted from Dr. Jose P. Rizal’s famous writings in Philippine history. A novel written describing the timeline and interpretation of the Spanish occupation in the Philippines. This triggered as a heretical piece as it exposed cases of Spanish abuses during the colonial occupation in the Philippines.
Much to his literature, one of the main characters that Rizal mentioned was Padre (Father) Damaso playing the role as a high priest and icon of the Catholic church back then. I can recall that ‘Damaso’ was a cruel man that criticized anyone who went against the church’s doctrines and ‘generous’ actions. But let’s not forget that he was also the biological father of Filipina sweetheart Maria Clara , which eventually revealed that he raped Doña Pia Alba.
Damaso, and other church official became an interpretation of the so-called church’s influence. It became a reason why many despised the actions of the church. These men, were made to find power by physically abusing and sexually harassing young women and children in the past.
Sexual abuses dates back to the Spanish period, I remembered a scene in the Noli Me Tangere movie where it shows a woman, made to lie naked in a bed. The next scene presents a man dressed in brown, crawling up to the poor naked woman.
At present day, a source from the Philippine Commission on Women states that “one in five women aged 15-49 has experienced physical violence since age 15; 14.4 percent married women suffered physical abuse from their husbands; and more than one-third (37%) of separated or widowed women have experienced physical violence”. Now the rest is unimaginable.
I won’t be dwelling much on numbers and figures, but focusing on letting my readers get a clear awareness of a growing number of ‘Damaso’ in the modern era.
UNDERSTANDING THE PRESENT DAMASO
It is quite complicated to understand the difference of understanding the terms we are most likely to hear on the radio, watch on the news, or read online
Fortunately, there are resources in the web to help us better understand. Allow me to help you lay out these terms in simpler definition.
This is the behavior that shows unwelcome sexual gestures. It can also be committed by ways of verbal or physical conduct that may seem sexual. Merely the act of making someone feel uncomfortable by means of green jokes, body shaming, requests & favors through social media, stalking etc. is sexual harassment.
There is action performed or attempted by another person without a mutual consent. It is when a person takes advantage of another person by means of unwanted sexual contact. Taking advantage of an intoxicated person by means of showing intimate gestures (kissing, holding of body parts, hugging etc) or even the attempt for sexual contact IS sexual assault. People who have committed sexual assault could most likely be charged for sexual violence.
Lets place the element that TORTURE is involved. It is also another form of Sexual Abuse
Sexual Violence is the physical contact performed to a person where action is observed and taken that makes the victim unable to escape from the situation. This implies to those that take pleasure on performing sadistic actions on a victims. Best examples are rape, sodomy (oral and anal sex), domestic violence, sadism etc.
Now that we have a clearer view of these terms, I exposed the reality and look into the world untold of stories or women and children who were (and still are) victims of sexual abuse & harassment. Here’s a couple of cases that were trending topics in the past that I’d like to bring up:
VICTIMS OF TRAGEDY
Philippine National Football Team vs. Cristina Ramos
Yes. Not even the Philippine’s most pride football team could get away without being charged with sexual harassment by match commissioner, Cristina Ramos (who is also the daughter of the former president, Fidel V. Ramos). She filed a formal complaint to the AFC Disciplinary committee on two ‘Azkal” players for a ‘crude and totally shaming statement made about her breasts’, during a team check, before the game. Being a woman match commissioner, she made a standard procedure to knock before entering the changing room, but entered into a rowdy, shameful crowd that did nothing but comment rudely on probably having a “Cup B” size. Apart from that, she was met with another player that stood before her, wearing his underwear only. The AZKALS definitely barked at the wrong tree.
Sex for Flight
Ever heard of sex for flight? These are bribes offered to Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) by the embassy to grant them a ticket to go back to the Philippines, in exchange for sex or performing sexual activities. This controversy became a hot topic in Senate over a complaint of 3 Filipina domestic workers pressing charges on the Philippine Embassy’s labor attaché in Riyadh. This placed the embassy in investigations over accusations that exploited Overseas Filipino Workers in Saudi Arabia. Aside from the sex for flight, the victims mentioned the maltreatment of these officials being unresponsive to their needs, especially to those being abused by their workers. Antonio Villafuerte, assistant labor attaché and Adam Musa were those probed and suspended from their position, being the forefront of this ‘sexploitation’ not only to the 3 women who pressed charges but also among other innocent OFWs. This is only dire proof that there was abuse in power to these women being placed as victims of Human Trafficking in the Middle East.
44 Days of Torture
Who could not forget the story of Junko Furuta’s 44 days of torture? She was only 16 when she was abducted by her teenage classmates, from then on became the worst days of her life. Brutally tortured, she suffered being beat and slammed multiple times, set on fire, and objects inserted in her internal organs not to mention raped over 500 times by 12 different men each day. She was equally shared to ‘play’ by her 4 abductors, when her body finally gave up from severe bleeding and damage internal and external organs. Junko Furuta’s story became one of the worst cases of sexual violence in Japanese history. Just by merely recalling the incident might give you nightmares.
Destruction of Daisy
This insane and monstrous act is one of the reasons why this blog has been invented. Australian paedophile Peter Scully came into Philippine soil taking the initiative to exploit young and poor street children and sexually abuse them by means of torture, rape and murder. All of which, he filmed for his child pornography website that earned him and his accomplices $10,000.00 each viewing. Out of all the videos posted and viewed by Philippine police is the “ Destruction of Daisy” which presents a 1-year old girl who played the role as “Daisy”, hung naked with legs apart, while Liezyl Margallo, Scully’s accomplice, whipped her with a belt and dripped candle wax in her organs. This video was shocking that it left the Philippine police the reaction of being “ the worst encountered in the years of campaigning for child pornography”. Aside from this, Scully is met with charges of murder case such as the killing and burying of an 11-year old girl. Liezyl Margallo (who staged her name as Shannon Carpio) continued Scully’s illegal business after his arrest in 2015. She posted photo of her living luxuriously in social media, only to find out she was still funded by Scully while still in prison. Thank God, these monsters are already taken in custody and faced with qualified child trafficking, that is non-bailable and will face life imprisonment. And as for the video, you can’t imagine the dreaded film, circling the ‘dark website’ which is definitely not suitable for your those faint-hearted.
POINTS FOR THE BETTER PIA ALBA
Point 1: Sexual assault, harassment and violence ARE NOT the same, BUT they are related by nature and purpose.
Wherever we go, the word SEXUAL will have the same meaning in everyone’s eyes and ears. But let us not forget that not all are considered to be grounded with these charges, not unless mutually agreed. For some countries around the world, it is viewed to be done for religious and cultural practices
(Ex. Rape Festival in India, Brothels in Bangladesh, Early Marriage in Yemen)
Point 2: Gender Equality is not excluded
Women may be the main subject of tease but it definitely does not exclude men, especially the LGBT community. Harassing is a form of bullying, and many of them suffer from being discriminated of one’s sexual orientation.
Goubtube’s video on ‘Men get catcalled too”
Point 3: The youth will suffer significantly in the future
There could be a good reason why Liezyl Margallo collaborated to work heinous crimes with Peter Scully, but her actions will never forgive the international community for what she did to these innocent children. The youth will grow up having a future destroyed by crimes against their will as it may serve as livelihood and source of income, that will eventually becomes a normal of earning income. What is worst to face is that sometimes this is influenced by parents who need money.
“Bawat bata sa ating mundo, may pangalan may karapatan” (Each child in our world, has a name, has a right).
Heroes like Ashton Kutcher, definitely deserves to be heard! Co-founding the international organization “Thorn” aims to combat sexual exploitation of children.
Point 4: The innovative technology becoming an avenue for exploitation
It is called, Social Media Exploitation and it branches out into numerous definition. The world untold rotates on the kind of information we are more likely to read online and this is a sad fact. We may only be grounded on social media ( Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc) but this is exactly the kind of pool that hackers and website exploiters most likely tend to plan their attack.
Another point to consider is the emergence of of video calling which places as an avenue for Cyber Sex.
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS:
All of the examples are gross violation of basic human rights. You must always be on your guard to REPORT or tell anything or anyone should it occur to you. But we may not alway be protected, even if you’re a really good person.
SITUATION : While walking on a small dark eskinita (alley)
MUST: First of all, you should NOT be placing yourself in this situation. But if you find yourself in this position, make sure to walk with someone. Check if there are people around, or if the neighborhood is safe. Make sure to keep all valuables with you. Even if the silence breaks in, always be on your ground or apply my first suggestion, the first sentence.
SITUATION: While riding any public or private transportation.
MUST: I would advise telling the driver to lock all the doors. Remind him of the destination you are going and if you are familiar of the destination, recommend a route. Take note of the plate & contact number and send the details to your family, friends, boyfriend, girlfriend or whoever you entrust. It is best to be telling the details through making phone conversations and letting the driver know that you are safe and secured.
SITUATION: While at the bar, club or any social event.
MUST: Never leave your drinks unattended. Even if you will be going to the washroom, socializing with friends or flirting with the guy in the other table. It is fully recommended to go with people you trust, or get yourself together by not getting wasted.
My parents always mentioned to me that being a girl, you must never be drinking alone at a bar. This invites the presence of other guys, especially if you are a really attractive. This is applicable if you want to engage in conversation with others, but mind you the best motive is preventing this from happening.
SITUATION: Being with person getting too comfortable ‘touching’ you
MUST: Try to get yourself out of the situation by avoiding that person. Move to another area, and try to stay far from the person. If the person persists, its important to be responsible enough to assess the gravity of his actions (Did he have too much drinks? Or is this guy really on to me?) It is however wise to look for help, if this situation becomes irritating.
SITUATION: Been sexually harassed/ assaulted or witnessed one
MUST: REPORT ASAP. Inform your friends or family and go to the nearest station to file a police blotter. Take note of these important emergency numbers.
Emergency number: 911
Philippine National Police (PNP) hotline patrol: 117 or 722-0650 mobile numeber: 09178475757
It is always important to stay grounded and think of the worst thing that could happen. In every part of the world, there will always be danger bound to happen if we don’t care for ourselves. We have to be alert and aware of these cases and most importantly speak out for our actions, for we take sole responsibility of our actions.
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Looking forward to hearing your thoughts,
Miss Kalibutan in partnership with We. Hrvst Lifestyle acknowledges the brave hustlers
Joan Mu of “How to Mu”,