PCW Calls for Safe Spaces for Women

The Philippine Commission on Women reiterates that sexual harassment is never acceptable. It is a detestable act as it is a manifestation of misogyny, sexism, and gender inequality.

Under the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act (Republic Act 7877), all forms of sexual harassment in the employment, education or training environment are unlawful. For workplace settings, Section 3 of the said law provides that “Sexual harassment is committed when, among others, acts would result in an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment for the employee.”

Similarly, the Safe Spaces Act (Republic Act 11313) provides that gender-based sexual harassment in the workplace includes “a conduct of sexual nature and other conduct-based on sex affecting the dignity of a person, which is unwelcome, unreasonable, and offensive to the recipient, whether done verbally, physically or through the use of technology such as text messaging or electronic mail or through any other forms of information and communication systems.”

Thus, pursuant to RA 11313 quoted, when we talk about sexual harassment in whatever context, we must consider the victim’s sentiment or reception of the unwanted and uninvited sexual actions or remarks. Women, or any person for that matter, must feel safe and at peace wherever they are, be it in their homes, in public spaces, in the virtual world, and in the place where they work and strive to earn for themselves or their family.

Violence Against Women, Sexual Harassment, and all other forms of Gender-Based Violence are manifestations of unequal power relations between women and men, where the latter are seen as superior. It is a social phenomenon where men misuse and abuse power to subjugate women and assert male privilege.

We call on the general public to help in ending gender-based violence; to treat women as humans with equal rights, and to help build a community where gender-based violence including sexual harassment is never justified.