As I was walking along the hallway of a certain college building in the campus, different voices coming from a group of men, or should I say DLSU-D students, caught my attention saying, “Miss!”, “Baby!”, “I love you!”, “Psst!”
At that point in time, my heart pumped faster than usual, and I felt under attack, helpless and silent about what happened. It was as if my emotional space was severely invaded by strangers. The last thing I knew, when I continued walking and no longer heard those voices, my tears almost fell as I managed to keep them from running down my eyes.
From what happened, I was not mad but disappointed—really disappointed. In my entire existence in this world, I’ve never been catcalled like that before—inside our very own campus done by the students themselves to say the least.
With all the religious teachings and core values taught in each student here in our University, I could never imagine how some Lasallians can exact such degradation, which should never be experienced by anyone—ever.
As we all know, catcalling is not merely just whistling or flirting—it’s an assertion of dominance and sexual interest of a person over a victim. It happens anywhere and anytime regardless of how you look and dress in public.
Unfortunately, this everyday reality for women all over the world isn’t taken seriously—but it needs to be. Despite the fact that men can also be victims, catcalling more frequently affects women, going so far as to impact their mental health, self-esteem, and feeling of being safe in a certain place.
After experiencing that kind of degradation so many times in my life, including the scenarios I’ve had inside the campus, I am pretty sure that there are many students who have felt the same way as I did.
To fight against these shameful instances within our own campus, suffering in silence isn’t the answer as it only indirectly tolerates and encourages the catcallers even more. Voicing out and letting them see that you are strong enough—either by confronting them or by holding your head up high as you walk—might make these people think twice before harassing you again.
See, most of the time, they’re victims themselves of a culture that preaches that such harassment against women is acceptable. So perhaps a rude awakening might be just what they need to know that this sort of action is certainly not acceptable, and if these catcallers can’t keep themselves from doing so, then we’ll help them.
Upon realizing that this would already be my last column inthe HERALDO FILIPINO broadsheet this year, I would like to address this pressing issue that isn’t just happening outside our University, but also inside the campus. As surprising as it is, I hope that the readers would realize how Lasallians on and off the campus must act and represent what we learn from the teachings we acquire.
In fact, our second home is meant to serve as the foundation of building strong values and good relationships with each other, and not as a stepping stone for us to continuously commit such kind of harassment.
So the next time we walk around the University, we should all feel safe and comfortable in our second home—regardless of what we wear and how we look in public.