Gabriela clarifies: Catcalling ‘improper, demeaning’
Women’s rights group Gabriela slammed President-elect Rodrigo Duterte for wolf-whistling a reporter in one of his press conferences last week.
In a statement issued on Sunday, the group reiterated that catcalling is “improper.”
“Catcalling is improper. It is an uncalled-for act that is demeaning to women. In fact, ordinances in Quezon City and even in Davao City saw the need to address this offensive demeanor and included it as one form of sexual harassment,” the statement from the group read.
The clarification was issued after Gabriela party-list representative Luzviminda Ilagan was quoted in a news report saying that catcalling is “not a form of sexual harassment.”
Ilagan seemed to justify Duterte’s wolf-whistling to GMA reporter Mariz Umali, saying that it’s just how Visayans do it.
“It’s not sexual harassment. Whistling is not a form of sexual harassment…Siguro improper lang siya na behavior under the circumstances na hindi dapat ganoon (It could be improper behavior under the circumstances which shouldn’t be like that)…If you are calling the attention of this reporter, you could have used the other way…
“We have to accept that our President is different and he is working under a cultural way of communicating… Ganoon naman talaga ang mga Bisaya (Visayans are really like that). They are sarcastic. We exaggerate. We make fun, pero accepted naman talaga. It’s just a manner of speaking but not the thought, it’s not the content,” Ilagan was quoted as saying in an ABS-CBN News report.
Ilagan ran but lost for councilor in Davao City’s third district under the party of Duterte’s daughter Sara.
The women’s group also said that they are extending a “hand of cooperation” to Duterte to effect changes that will advance women’s rights.
“While the issue of violence against women is a major concern of Gabriela, we are also pushing for other significant issues that greatly affect women’s daily lives. Pres. Duterte has promised change and therefore we expect that he will be true to his word and institute such changes. Gabriela extends its hand of cooperation with the incoming administration in advancing women’s vision of good governance and development through socioeconomic, political and cultural reforms,” it said.
Gabriela also invited Duterte to a women’s summit in Davao City this month so they can “constructively thresh out differences with the President” and advise him on how violence against women and children can be addressed.
Despite drawing flak for his act, Duterte said that whistling to a woman is not necessarily a sexual move. JE
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