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A viral video shows women joining to stop jeepney harassment


Jeepney on the street
A jeepney crossing the streets. (The Freeman / Gerry Lee Gorit)

A video clip on Twitter of how female power among passengers prevented an incident of harassment in a collective taxi toured the microblogging platform.

It was first published by the Twitter user @ 69caIum on April 13. Conversations about how women should protect each other in such situations came later.

The 45-second video showed a man looking at a woman who was sitting a passenger away from him.

When he tried to sit next to her, she and another woman moved to the other side and a third passenger moved by her side.

The Twitter user also shared snapshots of the recording that showed the man's face.

The identity of the user who captured the video and the location where it was filmed was not indicated.

In addition to the praise he got with the publication, several users pointed out how women have to adapt and work together to be safe in public.

"I hate that the years of this treatment have convinced us that we are always looking for danger over our shoulders, while perverts perpetuate this behavior and think it is okay," Twitter user @migssangtian said.

Meanwhile, Twitter user @jaicabajar said that this showed that the expression "children will be children" is wrong.

Public transport in the Philippines poses risks of harassment to passengers, particularly women, in addition to other crimes such as theft.

Last March, a student shared on Facebook how she woke up because someone was touching her private part.

Soon it caused other women to share their heartbreaking stories of sexual harassment in public transport vehicles.

Concrete laws required

The Women's Commission of the Philippines defines sexual harassment as "any unwanted sexual attention".

This can be in the form of verbal and physical acts. Verbal bullying includes lascivious comments and offensive jokes, while physical manifestation involves touching, rubbing the victim and raping her.

The government has yet to approve a specific measure that imposes sanctions against forms of sexual harassment in public, including when traveling by jeepney, buses and other PUVs.

Senate Bill 1326 or the "Safe Streets and Public Spaces Act of 2017", which aims to penalize public or street harassment, such as complaints, furtive looks and whistling in public places, has not yet been issued.

In Section 3, it states:

"Public spaces should include, among others, streets and alleys, public parks, schools, government buildings, shopping centers, bars, restaurants, transport terminals, public markets and public service vehicles."

The Sexual Harassment Act of 1995 only covers persons with authority in the workplace, schools and training institutions.

The proposed measure that will repeal this, House Bill 8244, also covers the same situations, but with more severe sanctions.

Quezon City and Manila, meanwhile, had banned claims and other similar forms of harassment in 2018.

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