Cosmo’s guide to deal­ing with on­line sex­ual ha­rass­ment.

Cosmopolitan (Philippines) - - Contents -

Let’s talk about the new breed of on­line sex­ual ha­rass­ment.

The most im­por­tant thing for vic­tims is em­pow­er­ment.

Ear­lier this year, the in­ter­net was up in arms over rape cul­ture’s new­est in­car­na­tion: pas­tor hokage groups. Perverts es­tab­lished fake Bi­ble study groups on Face­book, where they shared lewd pho­tos of women or worse, chil­dren as their “am­bag.” Mem­bers ex­pressed their ap­proval by com­ment­ing “Amen” or “Hy­men.” Th­ese posts ranged from self­ies show­ing just a lit­tle bit of cleav­age and bikini pho­tos to nudes and sex videos, many of which were up­loaded with­out the sub­ject’s con­sent. So what do you do if you’ve been fea­tured on a hokage group?

1. DOC­U­MENT AND RE­PORT THE POST Whether you just want to re­port the post on Face­book, or plan to file a case later on, the first thing to do is doc­u­ment the ev­i­dence. Take screen­shots of the post, along with the name of the group, its ad­min­is­tra­tors, the per­son who posted, and those who com­mented. Make sure the time and date are vis­i­ble in the screen­shot as well.

“If you know any­body from that group, take a screen­shot of posts or com­ments he made, go to his home­page, and take a screen­shot of that, too,” BJ de­los San­tos, crim­i­nal lawyer and part­ner at ABS Law Firm, ad­vises. “Once you’ve done th­ese, re­port the post to Face­book, then to the au­thor­i­ties. You may want to get a Barangay Pro­tec­tion Or­der, es­pe­cially if the of­fender is some­one( you know who lives close by.”

If your nude photo or sex video was ( posted on other so­cial. me­dia sites like In­sta­gram and Twit­ter, check out Ti this link for in­struc­tions on how to get them re­moved:A cy­ber­civil­rights. org/on­line-re­moval/l


The( hu­mil­i­a­tion of be­ing ob­jec­ti­fied, vi­o­lated and judged by strangers can have a se­ri­ous psy­cho­log­i­cal im­pact on vic­tims. “Peo­ple who are trau­ma­tized have dif­fer­ent re­ac­tions. Some peo­ple can be­come sui­ci­dal, some can get very an­gry at the world, and some lose trust and start blam­ing them­selves,” Ma­lyn Cris­to­bal, ther­a­pist and trainer at the Liv­ing Free Foun­da­tion, ex­plains. “That’s def­i­nitely the most dif­fi­cultz thing—they’ll start blam­ing them­selves and say, ‘If only I didn’t do that,’ or ‘If only I didn’t take a pic­ture of my­self.’ It’s self-de­feat­ing.”l

If you’re ex­pe­ri­enc­ing any of th­ese ( emo­tions, coun­sel­ing can help you process your feel­ings in a safe and con­struc­tive man­ner, so that you can work on heal­ing. Re­mem­ber that there’s ab­so­lutely no shame in see­ing a ther­a­pist.


Un­for­tu­nately, we live in a world where peo­ple like to blame the vic­tim, es­pe­cially if it’s from the safety of their com­puter. “Some peo­ple would say, ‘ Eh siya na­man kasi, why did she take a pic­ture like that?’ That’s be­side the point. That’s her choice, and that’s not the is­sue here. The is­sue is some­one took a photo that didn’t be­long to them and put it out there on so­cial me­dia,” Cris­to­bal says. That’s why for her, the most im­por­tant thing for vic­tims of on­line sex­ual ha­rass­ment is em­pow­er­ment. It’s im­por­tant to know your rights and have a strong sup­port sys­tem—peo­ple who will en­cour­age you to file a case, but re­spect your de­ci­sion if you don’t. Af­ter all, seek­ing help from law en­force­ment is much more com­pli­cated than it sounds.

“When you file a case, it’s talked about, it’s n open. So the vic­tim has to be pre­pared and guided be­fore she makes a de­ci­sion. We don’t want to f j. re-trau­ma­tize the per­son be­cause l all the de­tails of the case will be dug up,” Cris­to­bal ex­plains. “The lawyer on the other side will make it look like she’s the one at fault. So she has to be aware that this can hap­pen. She has to have a good sup­port sys­tem—peo­ple who are pos­i­tive and won’t blame or judge her, peo­ple who are to­tally on her side, whether it’s fam­ily, friends, a ther­a­pist, a coun­selor, or a re­li­gious group.”

If your fam­ily, friends, or rel­a­tives have a ten­dency to vic­tim­blame, you can turn to coun­selors or fem­i­nist pages like Cat­called in the Philip­pines for help.

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