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In QC, wolf whistles can land you in jail

By: - Reporter / @erikaINQ
/ 12:52 AM June 01, 2016

FINALLY, here’s proof that women do not appreciate being subjected to catcalls, wolf whistles and other gestures meant to extoll their looks from men on the streets, and in fact find them threatening and demeaning.

Such acts—long considered by most men as public expressions of interest and admiration for women—are now considered crimes with corresponding fines and a possible jail term for offenders in Quezon City.

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Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista has signed into law the city’s amended gender and development code, also known as the anti-catcalling ordinance, which imposes a fine and jail term for acts considered as sexual harassment of women in public spaces.

The law made Quezon City the first local government in the country to penalize the street-level harassment of women.

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“The primary objective is to change the cultural mindset of males toward females. Women are not sex objects. This is to empower women at the same time,” Bautista said of the law that would “supplement other national laws that protect the interest of women.”

Among those laws is the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995 that criminalizes unwanted sexual attention and conditional sexual favors from persons of authority in the workplace, training venues and educational institutions.

The anti-catcalling ordinance introduced by QC Councilor Lena Marie Juico was approved by the City Council on March 7 and signed into law by Bautista on May 16.

Under the measure, light violations, such as cursing, catcalling, repeatedly asking the subject for a date or her contact number, or taunting a woman with constant talk about sex, are punishable with a fine of from P1,000 to P5,000 or a jail term of up to one month.

Stalking, making offensive mouth, hand or body gestures with the intention to demean or threaten a woman are considered medium violations with the same range of penalties.

Severe violations carry a fine of P3,000 to P5,000 or a jail term of from one month to one year.

These include unnecessary touching, pinching or brushing against the subject’s body; public masturbation or lascivious exhibition directed at a woman, and inserting any object into the genitalia, anus or mouth of any person whether of the same or opposite sex.

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Bautista said the penalties were the maximum allowed under the Local Government Code.

Women offended by the cited violations may file a complaint in the women’s desk that are now part of police precincts. The amendments to Quezon City’s gender and development code were introduced after a memorandum of understanding with the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), which chose Quezon City as one of the pilot areas for its Safe Cities and Safe Public Spaces Initiative.

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