HOW TO DEAL IF YOU’VE BEEN HOKAGE-D
Cosmo’s guide to dealing with online sexual harassment.
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
2. SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP
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.
3. HAVE A GOOD SUPPORT GROUP
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.