on apathy and victim blaming

Namanyak ba ako? (Was I just molested?)

This is almost always the first question that comes to mind when a woman encounters a guy who touches her or “bumps” into her and ends up touching a part of her body that should not be touched without her explicit consent. I know this because I am a girl and I have been a victim many times over.

Namanyak ba ako? (Was I just molested?)

Baka sensitive lang ako? (Maybe I’m just too sensitive?)

Did that just really happen?

Omigod, that just happened?

Why did that happen?

Wait lang, di naman mahalay suot ko ah? (Wait, I’m not wearing something provocative.)

What did I do? Did I deserve that?

Tangina, why did that happen? Who gave that guy the right to fuck with me?

These are some of the thoughts that will run through a girl’s mind when acts of lasciviousness happens. Sometimes, it’s not even an act. It can be a stare so creepy it will make your skin crawl or feel like you are wearing nothing and sometimes, it’s a whisper as they pass by you, something that would haunt you till late at night.

Whatever the case may be, it’s creepy and it gets to you. With how society works nowadays, most of the time, you can’t even tell someone because then you will hear:

Girl pasalamat ka nga pinansin ka! (Girl you should be thankful they even noticed you!)

At least nagandahan sayo! (Well at least they found you pretty.)

Ayaw mo nun seksi ka daw! (Don’t you like that? They think you’re sexy!)

Why didn’t you hit him? Why didn’t you fight back?

To be clear, it is very easy to say how you would react when something like this happens. It’s easy to say I’d hit him or I’d mouth off. It’s easy to say he would get a slap or I would kick him in the balls.

It’s ONLY easy to say.

It’s harder to do because you never know when it would happen. It is almost always a surprise because no girl goes out of her house thinking that she would be molested or be catcalled. It is even most likely the last thing on her mind.

Unless you have been trained and prepped to defend yourself, your initial reaction is always that of shock, disbelief, and almost always fear. If a guy had the audacity and nerve to call you out like that in public, what else can he do to you?

Do you pretend to not notice and try to slowly move away or pray it ends asap?

Do you ignore?

Do you call out and seek help?

Will there be someone to help?

Do you fight back and possibly be harmed even more?

What can you do?

If you have already had this happen to you and you weren’t able to fight back or defend yourself, do not blame yourself. You’re human. That person was a monster. However, DO NOT BE ASHAMED. There is nothing for you to be ashamed of. You did not ask to have this done to you. You did not parade with a sign saying “molest me!” You should not be ashamed that someone violated you. You are the victim.

I repeat: YOU.ARE.THE.VICTIM.

If you have never had this happen, pray it doesn’t. If it does, try hard to remember the following:

  1. Do not immediately react.
  2. Assess the situation. Is he bigger? Stronger? Does he have a knife? A gun? Can you run away? Can you hit him? Are there people nearby who might be able to help? Can you run away in case you scream and no one can help? Is he “open” anywhere that you can hit preferably his nose, eyes, or better yet, his balls?
  3. Choose your actions but ensure your safety all the time. Your life matters more than anything.
  4. Have a ball pen or pencil ready. Since we are not allowed to carry knives, Tasers, pepper spray, or guns, a ball pen can be a good choice. Stab the guy hard enough to startle him then make a run for it or draw attention to the both of you. Most of the time, this is enough to stop the man from what he is doing. Tell people around you what he is doing. Make sure that people will either get in between the two of you, shoo him off, or give you the chance to leave.
  5. Report to the police. We really need to learn to report maniacs and perverts so that they can be punished. Social media shaming is not good enough. They committed a punishable crime so let it happen.
  6. Tell someone you trust. This is something that you need to talk out with someone who will be there for you and help you get over what happened.

No matter what happens, when this happens to you, remember that you are the victim. You are not to blame. You do not deserve what happened and you should not endure what happened. You need to fight back by talking about it, reporting what happened, and putting a stop to all of this.

If you are someone who has witnessed someone being molested in a PUV, please help out. Speak out. Say something, do something, just make it stop. Stop the apathy and not caring. Please.

APATHY and VICTIM BLAMING needs to stop and it needs to stop now.

Kathy Ngo

more than what you hope for ... less than what you assume ... always a suprise. #StandOutMNL

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