Following a series of beauty contestants’ confessions about their experience being sexually harassed, another beauty pageant model spoke up on her experiences even before she entered the world of pageantry.
Bea Rose Santiago of Miss International 2013 on Facebook said that incidents of sexual harassment happen not just in pageants as she was a victim of it since she was a child.
Sexual Harassment IS REAL. NOT JUST IN PAGEANTS BUT EVERYWHERE!I was molested when I was a child by a priest. He is…
“I was molested when I was a child by a priest. He is still preaching somewhere in Masbate. I was told ‘Why are you born too late’ or ‘Sus sayang ka Bea, kung napanganak ka lang mas maaga.’ By a pageant guy winner. I was 12 years old and he was 21,” Santiago started.
She recalled also feeling disrespected by a “well-known businessman” whom she alleged organized parties and invited beauty contestants who did not win a title.
When Santiago met him again as a candidate, the organizers, assistants and the chairwoman kept her and the other girls safe.
She also told of another beauty “queen” at the Miss International event who was touched inappropriately during a visit to the Philippine Senate.
The last one was when she recounted a middle-aged man who “accidentally swung his hand” to touch her even if she put her hands behind her back.
“It happens. No matter how careful you are. No matter how big, popular, old or religious a person is, he can still be a pervert,” Santiago said.
Being a victim herself, she recalled being scared then. She is also scared now that she chose to share her story with the public.
“I am honestly really scared to speak up. I hope I won’t regret this,” Santiago said.
Santiago, a native of Masbate, won the Miss International crown in 2013 in Tokyo, Japan.
She has a degree of communications majoring in Public Relations at the University in Toronto in Canada.
Last August, the 28-year-old model revealed on Instagram that she was diagnosed with chronic kidney last August due to her lifestyle.
The bigger picture: Sexual harassment in the Philippines
A survey last October showed that three of five women are sexual harassment victims. A majority of the incidents occurred in public and during the day.
There are laws that supposedly protect Filipinos from these horrific crimes, such as The Anti-Rape Law of 1997 and the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995.
In work and education-related environments, any form of demand, request and requirement of sexual favor from a person with “having authority, influence or moral ascendancy” such as a professor or a superior to another.
A article on Philstar.com explained that sexual harassment acts may be verbal, nonverbal and physical in nature, according to a columnist.
Verbal abuse includes “sexual propositions, lewd remarks and threats and requests for any type of sexual favor.”
Meanwhile, nonverbal covers “the distribution, display or discussion of any written or graphic material, including calendars, posters and cartoons that are sexually suggestive or show hostility toward an individual or group.”
Last, physical sexual harassment is “the unwelcome, unwanted physical contact, including touching, tickling, pinching, patting, brushing up against, hugging, cornering, kissing and fondling and forced sexual intercourse or assault.”
On November 8, Miss Earth participants Jaime Vandenberg of Canada, Emma Mae Sheedy of Guam and Abbey-Anne Gyles-Brown of England accused Amado Cruz, a sponsor of the show, of harassing them.
The National Privacy Commission sought to launch a probe into the organization over allegations that it gave out contestants’ contact numbers without their consent.