Filipino women open up on harassment in PUVs in a viral Facebook post

March 25, 2019 - 3:44 PM
Jeepney encounters Interaksyon
Are the traditional jeepneys here to stay? (Photo by Interaksyon/Uela Altar-Badayos)

A Facebook user’s harrowing tale of being sexually harassed while sleeping inside the jeepney triggered others to speak about their experiences of harassment in public transport.

Mary Buenaventura shared on March 18 that she just took a nap in a jeepney ride when she suddenly woke up because someone was touching her private part.

You rode a jeepney, decided to take a nap because you’re drained from school activities.You suddenly woke up because…

Posted by Mary Buenaventura on Monday, March 18, 2019

“You rode a jeepney, decided to take a nap because you’re drained from school activities,” she began.

“You suddenly woke up because you felt something warm touch your breast. You removed your bag that you used as a pillow, and saw the hand of the guy next to you touching your breast,” she added.

Buenaventura included a snapshot of her clothing that time and said: “This is what I was wearing btw. So tell me, did I ask for it? Did my clothes give you any hints that I wanted it? I don’t think so.”

As soon as the post made rounds online, some users recalled similar incidents of harassment in jeepney rides.

jeepney encounter comment 1
Screenshot by Interaksyon
jeepney encounter comment 2
Screenshot by Interaksyon

Some comments, however, suggest that it was the girl’s fault for being harassed. One Twitter user noticed this and aired opposition to the opinion.

“’Wag matulog sa jeep’ is not the solution. How about don’t touch people without their consent,” Twitter user @beachan__ said.

Others argued that female passengers should still do their part in taking measures to avoid being harassed when taking public transportation.

“As a man, I believe and agree na dapat matuto nang magrespeto ang lalaki sa babae, not because they are girls, but because they deserve respect. Pero girls, I wish na sana matuto rin tayong ibaba ang pride natin over boys, and matuto narin mag-ingat sa mga ganyan,” one Twitter user said.

Harassment in public transportation

Aside from traffic congestion, public transportation in the Philippines also poses risks harassment on the safety of the passengers themselves such as harassment and theft.

Victims of harassment in public utility vehicles or PUVs in recent years took to social media to share their terrible experiences.

In 2016, a jeepney driver got fired with his license suspended when he was tried for sexually harassing a woman shown in a viral video on social media.

In 2017, another woman narrated how she was traumatized when she caught a man doing a lewd act in front of her while riding a jeepney.

In 2018, a female passenger captured on video a man showing off his manhood to her in a crowded bus ride.

According to the Philippine Commission on Women, sexual harassment can be verbal or physical.

Verbal harassment includes “lewd comments or remarks, offensive jokes or outright propositions.” Meanwhile, acts ranging from winking, leering, kissing and touching are considered physical harassment.

There is no specific law against sexual or physical harassment in public.

The Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995 is limited to situations within employment, education or training-related.

The proposed House Bill 8244 that imposes stricter penalties on overall harassment and repealing the previous measure was approved at the Lower House last November 2018.