A blog by Jacqueline Tabora

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I just have to vent out my frustration.


I usually leave the house early to go to work. I pass by familiar food businesses and variety stores in my community, seeing the usual faces that peddle and sell breakfast and lunch foods at the side streets. I pass this street every single day going to the jeepney terminal. I often don't care to notice the people walking here and there, rushing to school or offices, or chasing fully-loaded jeepneys. I just walk, pass by and leave; minding my own business.


But at times, passing this street is a bit uncomfortable to me. I encountered catcalling on this area since I moved in last year. I usually ignore and get over it once I pass by them, but as a girl, I can't help but feel harassed, disrespected, tripped over --- those kinds of feelings. Perspective while reading this entry of mine may vary from reader to reader, but to me, to see someone follow you with a gaze so early in the morning, stare at you while you approach a distance to him and hear him say "Hi, mahal", "Ingat ka bhe," "Hello idol", "Hi, 'te, hatid na kita", or even narrow a distance to you and try to close in their face to you ---- it brings a creepy chill down my spine and throat.


I remember I was walking home, and this one guy breathe in a "Hi" near my face. When I retorted with a curse, he pointed to two women who walked past by me and said "Ayun ang asawa ko oh." and just walk away from me while the wife was unaware what happened, I reached home with clenching teeth feeling as if I was not able to defend myself completely, and the best I could do is to curse back. In another instance, I was sitting on a jeepney with a guy on my right. A coin fell down and he reached to get it. His arms rubbed up and down my leg and I flinched. I was wearing a skirt at that time. I looked at him and he stared back, holding the coin in front of me saying, "Nahulog. Kinuha ko," and then he murmured, "akala mo naman hinipuan ka".


I feel unsafe. Sure thing the statements may appear harmless and some may reason out people who do this are just trying to be friendly, but not to me, I don't see it friendly at all. I don't know what these guys get in doing such things or to which dictionary do they attribute that their actions are covered by the definition of "friendly", but they do it anyway, and that alarms me.


I rarely go out of the house to be honest. The only time I do is when I'd go somewhere, and that is either just the office or the mall. I rarely do retail buying for my personal and house needs since I already do grocery shopping once a month, thus having encountered unwanted attention from people you don't know at those limited times that you go out of the house is threatening.


I often experience this on the streets where average Filipinos live, to the point that I think that there are limited place left for you to feel not being ogled, your house, the mall and business districts. I have lived in three different cities in the metro and I may say that this has happened multiple times. Fighting back is a choice. Either you confront them right then and there, say your piece and shut them down. But backlash or defense is just around the corner.


What makes matters worse is that when you don't get support from fellow females or even people in general, older or younger than you. Either they blame you or they hate on you, as if you are the one who brought yourself in such catcalling and harassing situation."para namang ang ganda mo 'te para pag-tripan ka nya", "nagsuot-suot ka kasi ng ganyan tapos aangil ka na nabastos ka", "napakababaw na bagay, pinapalaki mo pa", "hayaan mo lang, huwag mo pansinin", "ano'ng masama dun, ang haba nga ng hair mo eh". Come on, it's from a stranger! A person who I don't know! A person who out of nowhere toys with my looks to get a response, to what, probably boost their egos? If you'd say they are just being friendly, fvck it, that is not how you make friends.


With this kinds of retort, how do we prove that the actions are with malice then and are meant to harass, violate or even objectify us women?

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