Gabriela Women’s Party on Wednesday expressed support to the victims of a lewd group chat that allegedly involved students of the University of the Philippines Visayas after screenshots of it were leaked on social media.
The party-list retweeted a post of the University Student Council of UP Visayas which urged the victims of the group chat to come forward and report cases of sexual harassment to the committee head of the Students’ Rights and Welfare.
“It Ends here. For reports and complaints you may contact the Anti-Sexual Harassment Office Student Representative,” the student council of UP Visayas tweeted.
It accompanied its post with contact details that students can reach.
Gabriela likewise encouraged the victims to immediately seek for help and file reports.
“It has come to our attention that reports of sexual violence perpetrated by some students in UP Visayas are currently making rounds on Twitter. Sharing this tweet so victims can immediately seek help. Kapit lang, lalaban tayo. #LabananAngAbuso,” it said.
It has come to our attention that reports of sexual violence perpetrated by some students in UP Visayas are currently making rounds on Twitter.
Sharing this tweet so victims can immediately seek help.
— Gabriela Women's Party (@GabrielaWomenPL) July 1, 2020
On Thursday, ABS-CBN News reported that some members of the Scintilla Jvris Fraternity were involved in a group chat that was revealed to have “lewd and homophobic content.”
“The chatbox showed members sharing nude photos of women, some alleged exes and friends of the fraternity brothers. Some of the conversations also included lewd comments about their sorority sisters from the Stella Juris Sorority,” the news outlet said.
It added that the screenshots were initially uploaded by Twitter account @MANYAKSOFUPV or “Manyaks of UPV.”
Students and alumni of UP Visayas condemned the purported screenshots which some of them said contained “disgusting and slut-shaming remarks.”
The Stella Juris Sorority, the sister sorority of the tagged fraternity, also condemned the incident, saying it does not condone the “misogynistic and homophobic remarks and manifestations in the controversial private conversation.”
“Women, especially minors, are not objects. Women, the minors, and the members of the LGBTQ++ community deserve respect,” the sorority said in a statement.
Scintilla Jvris Fraternity on Thursday said that it is “already taking action” and informed the public that a fact-finding committee and a disciplinary action committee were already created “to ensure accountability at that soonest possible time.”
It also apologized to the individuals who were “harassed or violated by the actions taken by the members involved.”
— UPV SJ (@UPV_SJ) July 1, 2020
Last month, a coalition of students, alumni, faculty and parents from Ateneo de Manila University also urged some schools “to keep sexual predators away from the classroom” following viral allegations of student harassment.
Some of the schools mentioned by the coalition were Miriam College High School, Marikina Science High School, Quezon City Science High School, St. Theresa’s College, St. Paul College Pasig, and Bulacan State University Laboratory High School, among others.
The Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995 prohibits sexual harassment in educational institutions while the Safe Spaces Act, otherwise known as the “Bawal Bastos Law,” criminalizes online sexual harassment.
Some of these acts include the following, according to principal author Sen. Risa Hontiveros:
- Unwanted sexual misogynistic, transphobic, homophobic, and sexist remarks and comments online whether on public posts or through private messages;
- Recording or sharing of the victim’s photos, videos, or information without permission
Perpetrators may be imprisoned for up to six years or be fined P100,000 up to P500,000.