Hontiveros wants stiff penalties vs ‘Pastor Hokage’ FB groups
Senator Risa Hontiveros wants members of secret groups sharing obscene photos of women and children on social media penalized with up to P500,000 and a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.
The Akbayan senator on Thursday called for the passage of a law imposing stiffer penalties against people who feast on lewd photos of women and children on different social media platforms after concerned citizens exposed several groups connected with a Facebook fanpage “Pastor Hokage Bible Study.”
“These people have no right to enjoy our internet freedom only to abuse our women and children. We will not allow them to shame our young women, suppress their right to express themselves through social media and contribute to a culture of misogyny and hate,” Hontiveros said.
An investigation will be conducted on the prevalence of the “misogynistic” online forums, according to the neophyte senator, who chairs the Senate committee on women.
Hontiveros said her office has started coordinating with Facebook, concerned netizens and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) regarding the “Pastor” groups.
She warned that people behind groups promoting perversion will be “prosecuted to the full extent of the law and will be held accountable.”
“We must put an end to this online locker room talk, which is a manifestation of the culture of misogyny and commodification of women prevalent in our country right now,” Hontiveros said.
“Together with our campaign to make our streets and homes safe spaces for our women and children, we will do the same in the realm of social media. We will give no quarter to misogyny and sexism whether they are online or off,” she added.
Hontiveros filed Senate Bill No. 1251 or the Anti-Gender-Based Electronic Violence (GBEV), seeking to penalize those responsible for misogynistic and homophobic attacks on social media.
The bill defines GBEV as “acts involving use of any form of information and communications technology which causes or is likely to cause mental, emotional or psychological distress or suffering to the female victim or lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) victim, and tending to disparage the dignity and personhood of the same on account of his or her gender.” The offenses listed in the bill include harassing or threatening the victim through text messaging, posts in social media sites, or other cyber, electronic, or multimedia means.
Hontiveros’ bill proposes the penalty of imprisonment of not less than five years but not more than ten years and a fine of not less than P100,000 but not more than P500,000.
In the case of the “Hokage Pastor” Facebook groups, Hontiveros said that the maximum penalty should be applied to the members “if their acts are repeated, involve multiple women at any given time, and may even be profited from.”
Recently, the secret groups sharing photos of women surfaced after some female victims came out. The victim said she had received indecent proposals from strangers on Facebook after a member of the “Pastor” group shared her photo.
Members who are mostly men were using terms like “Amen” to express their approval for obscene photos and sexist posts of women and children. JPV/rga
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