Press Release
March 6, 2018


Citing data from police authorities, the Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Women on Tuesday said that two (2) women get harassed everyday in the country's capital.

"In Manila alone, according to police reports, there are two (2) women who get harassed everyday. So in a week, the number of women who get harassed and abused is 14. If we multiply that number to months and even an entire year, we will arrive at a very alarming and nightmarish statistic," Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros said.

Hontiveros, citing data from the Manila Police District (MPD), said that the forms of harassment reported include acts of lasciviousness, sexual harassment, rape and violence against women. She said most of the incidents happened after office hours and during unholy hours.

The Senator however said that the reported cases do not include other forms of gender-based harassment and abuse that currently do not fall under existing laws. "To be fair, I believe that our police force is doing its best to protect our women. But because there is no existing national policy that identifies other forms of gender-based street harassment and will aid our authorities in preventing such abuses, the number can actually be higher," Hontiveros said.

Hontiveros is pushing for the passage of Senate Bill No. 1326 or the Safe Streets and Public Spaces Act of 2017. The measure aims to prohibit and penalize gender-based harassment in public spaces such as catcalling, wolf-whistling, cursing, leering, groping, persistent request for name and contact details. It also seeks to penalize the use of words tending to ridicule on the basis of actual or perceived sex, gender expression, or sexual orientation and identity, including sexist, homophobic and transphobic slurs.

The Senator said that the bill is scheduled for interpellation on Tuesday, two days before the country observes the International Women's Day.

"Duterte's words normalized and reinforced climate of sexism"

Hontiveros said President Rodrigo Duterte's anti-women remarks have also contributed in the culture of sexism, gender discrimination and even violence against women. She said that her office has monitored 23 instances (see attached list) where Duterte, as President, made remarks against women. This includes the President's threat to show Senator Leila De Lima's fake sex video, his statement reducing Vice President Leni Robredo to "a pair of nice knees", his rape joke in front of the military, and recently, his order to soldiers to shoot female rebels in the vagina.

"Based on our monitoring, President Duterte is averaging one sexist remark a month. This is unacceptable. His words normalize and reinforce the climate of sexism and misogyny in the country. Similar to how the President's words inspired and encouraged the wave of killings in the country, his anti-women statements have propelled unprecedented attacks against women," Hontiveros said.

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