You are walking down the street minding your own business. Tired and sleepy, while feeling cold in your sleeved-shirt and jeans, you head for home. You are a good student and you are respectable and dignified in every sense.
“Miss beautiful oh, so sexy.”
Your heart is pounding. A mix of anger and fear gushes through every vein in your body. Your body starts shaking in the adrenaline you can’t bear. In your mind, terrible things could happen. Is it in the way you are dressed? If your sleeved shirt too provocative, what else should you wear? You hate them for treating you like this, you don’t deserve it. The dignified feeling you had just moments ago now disappears completely.
You start to take a step and be on your way. But the boys in their sweaty shirts and yellow hard hats keep on calling and laughing at the sorry state that you are. You feel shame as you fear their calloused hands violating every inch of your fragile body.
Helpless and anxious, you wipe a tear and run for home.
No Laughing Matter
Cat-calling is a serious offense. It can be considered a form of sexual harassment, which is punishable by law. To some of you, it may just be a joke. But to the victim, it may be a scarring incident that can leave them scared and depressed.
No woman deserves to be treated this way. It is offensive as it violates human dignity. Cat-calling and sexual harassment may not only happen to women. All genders, including men, may also have to deal with it one way or another.
Cat-calling and other forms of sexual harassment can also happen in other settings. The internet, with the power of its anonymity and accessibility, is now infested with malicious acts. Some examples can include
- Receiving unsolicited, uncomfortable, often pornographic messages.
- Public defamation through sexual remarks and other morally damaging comments.
- Blackmail, usually involving private articles such as personal information and photos.
What We are Doing about It
I have received information from a female friend, who wishes to remain anonymous, that some of the construction workers in a building inside our campus, has been cat-calling her in many instances.
As member of a students’ rights committee of our university student council, I am bringing this issue to the Gender and Development Office at the soonest. If necessary, I will also campaign for awareness (the first step is this blog entry). This is also my contribution to UN SDG 5: Gender equality.
We’re not Cats; We are Dignified Filipinos
If you were harassed, feel empowered to report it to the authorities. Take note of the time, date, and instance of the incident as you file your complaint. We are in a country which gives equal rights to all, regardless of gender. The Filipino people, our laws, and the President himself, will fight for you.
On the other hand, if you are on the other end (the cat-calling harassers), STOP IT. It is mentally-scarring, offensive, and profusely annoying. Not to mention, you could be jailed.
Let us respect all genders, every fellow human being, just as we feel we deserve to be respected. This way, we may achieve true equality for all.