Trigger Warning.

It was a sunny day and I was 16. I had just come from a university interview, drained emotionally from it and physically from the 2-hour commute back. I was wearing a dark polo, khaki slacks, the stink of an accumulated 4 hours of commuting, and didn’t care an iota about make-up.
A man was walking up our street. While I usually ignore strangers, he stopped directly in my path. I assumed he was going to ask for directions, so I stopped as well – after all, we were in broad daylight in a public place (4-way street intersection) and I was wearing “proper” clothing. He said something incomprehensible; when I asked “Ano po?”, he unzipped his fly and took his privates out. He started touching himself in front of me.

Stunned, I backed away and ran towards my house. When I was closing the gate behind me, I looked back, maybe hoping it wasn’t real. He was still there, doing that.

Until now, that image is burned in my brain.

It’s been 11 years and this is the first time I’m telling this story, to anyone. Back then, I know I would’ve been blamed if I talked about it – that it was my fault for stopping or that at least “nothing” happened.

Thinking about it now – a man I did not know started touching himself in front of me, in a public place during broad daylight, the very street that I grew up in, a place that I’d always viewed as ‘safe’ – is that really “nothing”?

Sometimes, my family still warns me about wearing skirts, dresses, or shorts (my wardrobe choices are now 99% skirts and dresses – they’re much more comfortable than pants); or going out with friends at night. A couple of years ago, my bag was slashed and my wallet taken inside a jeepney and when I recounted the story, it was, of course, my fault for letting that happen. I know it’s not, just like getting catcalled because I’m wearing something I find comfortable, or getting stared at because I have boobs is not my fault.

I know my family’s hearts are in the right place but I’ve long learned that getting harassed has nothing to do with what you wear, where you go, or what time of the day it is.  I’ve come to terms with the fact that stopping 11 years ago in order to help someone I thought was lost was an action I made, but what that man did afterwards is not my fault and  that I shouldn’t feel guilty about it.

Today, I sat in a jeepney wearing a 3/4 sleeve dress with a backpack across my lap and a Mumuso ecobag full of sanitary napkins across my legs. The man sitting in front of me on the jeep (incidentally, it’s the same jeep route where my bag got slashed years ago)  suddenly jumped up then slid down, even if the jeep was moving at a regular pace. I spared him a glance because of it, which I ended up regretting.

He had his dick out and he was masturbating.

My mind blanked out because of shock. Again, in public, broad daylight, now in a semi-full jeepney. Barely 5 minutes ago, that man was sitting next to a mother and daughter, who looked no older than five. I couldn’t decide what to do–I couldn’t yell, couldn’t say anything, didnt even think of taking out my pepper spray (which really isn’t a smart thing to do). I considered stopping the jeep even if it wasn’t my stop, but what if he followed me? I barely had the presence of mind to snap this photo. I just kept thinking, ‘putangina’ and ‘I hope he doesn’t finish’. I made eye contact with the woman next to him and just when I mustered up the courage to say something (because no matter how loud my mind was screaming, telepathy doesn’t work), the jeep stopped. He left the jeep with his fly still open and his dick still out. Later, I’d wish I put his mug on Facebook Live. Later, I’d wish I managed even an, “ang liit” as he was going down. But I didnt, and I only have this photo.

But you should know–this happens.

====================================================================

1.26.2016

I’m adding this here, hopefully to make a few understand WHY this post is about rape culture–even if and regardless of a possibility of a psychological disorder.

Rape culture:
http://www.marshall.edu/wcenter/sexual-assault/rape-culture/
http://time.com/40110/rape-culture-is-real/
http://everydayfeminism.com/2014/…/examples-of-rape-culture/
http://www.wavaw.ca/what-is-rape-culture/

Hopefully, this will make men stop trying inform me that this is definitely a mental disorder by sending a link to Wikipedia (omg legit!) or telling me to Google it :)) ) I have, before I posted. This is also for those expecting or implying that I should also champion awareness for my harasser’s (unconfirmed) psychological disorder. To, in a way, DEFEND the person whose actions has caused me stress, anxiety, tears, and numbness this week and gave me trauma that I will carry for the rest of my life.

Some are quick to diagnose this man with a disorder based solely on this one photo and incident. Exhibitionism can be a general pattern of behavior or a disorder. To qualify as an actual disorder, it has to meet several criteria.

“If an affected individual does not meet all necessary criteria, he or she will not meet the standard for an exhibitionistic disorder diagnosis, even if he or she has clear exhibitionistic tendencies that meet the definition for a paraphilia.” (http://www.hypersexualdisorders.com/…/dsm-5-understanding-…/)

I’m truly amazed at all the men who were able to diagnose him based on that one photo. That you were all able to perform the necessary tests (http://www.minddisorders.com/Del-Fi/Exhibitionism.html).

This man MIGHT meet that criteria to qualify as a disorder. Or we might have just given him (and people who know him) an excuse. Or he can just be a pervert.
– This man was aware enough to wait until the full (kandungan-levels) jeepney was only semi-full before adjusting his modified pants to expose himself.
– He was aware enough to do it near his stop.
– He was aware enough to place his bag strategically so the other passengers would not see what he was doing outright.
– He was aware enough when he looked at me and made eye contact before touching himself.

Maybe he can’t help it. Because maybe he does meet the criteria.
Maybe he also has a job. He may also process enough mental stability to NOT masturbate in front of his employers and workmates in order to keep his job. Or in front of his family.

If I’ve learned anything these past few days, it’s that sexual harassment via public masturbation is NOT rare. A lot of women (and some men) have come forward with their stories, both in person and online [through blog and FB comments, shares with their stories attached to my post, direct messages] about men harassing them in this manner—and worse.

These people are strangers online. People I work with. Friends. People I’ve known for years. Family. And I didn’t even know it happened to SO many people, and so many people I knew personally, until I decided to share my story to raise awareness that things like this happen and to hopefully, help rid girls and women of the notion that it’s their fault.

Some of our harassers could likely suffer from a psychological disorder. But hey, are ALL those men who did this to us—do they ALL suffer from it?

Would they all pass the criteria and diagnostic tests for it to qualify as a disorder? Or do they all now just have an excuse to save face, claim those criteria apply to them? Is it better to be seen as ill as a reason for doing something “out of the norm” than actually in control of your actions? Is it that hard to believe that some men get off on doing this?

Supposing they all meet the criteria perfectly, after proper testing. Then does that mean we, the unwilling participants, should just sit back and “understand” them?

Does this possibility take away from the fact that we were actually harassed, that we felt violated? That we’ve come away from those incidents having to deal with trauma?

That victim blaming is so ingrained in our society that some of us struggled for years in shame and fear (and some continue to do so)? That the most common phrases I’ve read the past few days were, “I’ve never told anyone/Wala din akong pinagsabihan”, “Nahihiya ako/Natatakot ako”?

That we kept quiet because we’d be blamed? That these men get away scot-free because we’ll be accused as liars or just laughed at? That I needed a proof shot because when it comes to cases brought forward by women, the default thinking is “pics or it didn’t happen”?

That all these things are part and a product of rape culture?

Does it? It shouldn’t.

I’m allowed to react and feel the way I feel. I’d like to think I’m allowed to write about my actual experiences and work through my trauma without having to make excuses for my harasser or tiptoeing around his feelings or condition. Without having to also carry his issues and advocate for him. Regardless if he truly has a condition or not.

Because even if you know the existence of a disorder that can explain his actions—surprise! We do too! And that has nothing to do with how we still FEEL about it—how we will always remember how we felt so damn helpless, how we will carry those images with us until we die, how they will surface from our minds, unbidden, in times we thought we’re finally okay, how we will never feel 100% safe regardless of where we are—at school, in the mall, the route we take to work, and so on—because a lot of our harassers acted ‘normal’ until they whipped their dicks out.

Know that possibility or even actuality of a disorder does not make our struggle, burden, and trauma any less real. Some of you may mean well and understand this, and did not mean to imply that the two cancel each other out, or that mental awareness is more important than what rape culture can do to people. But asking those of us who have been targets to, even implicitly, either pity, understand, or advocate for our harassers too, is just… I’ve run out of words to express how to feel about that.

That is why this post is about rape culture.

If you’re a stranger and see this man, if you can, report him to the authorities. Even if you think he’s innocent because his actions are excused by a psychological disorder. Maybe they can actually get him checked for it and give him the help he needs.

If you know this man, let me know. If you are invested in him in some way and don’t want him getting in trouble, then at least make an excuse like… hmm, you’re already getting him checked for a disorder, and then show me that you’re actually doing it. Please.

I just want him out of the streets, far away from other women and children. Away from your sisters, mothers, girlfriends, wives, daughters, nieces… who I hope will never have to experience this. Or will never have to experience this AGAIN.

Before the week ends, I’m going to blur this man’s face on the photo. I need to heal. If we haven’t identified him online by now, then it isn’t likely we will. I’ll just trust that the authorities will do a good job with a photo.

Ultimately, this post is about what he and others like him did, letting people know that things like this happen, and mostly about my struggles to overcome rape culture.

That’s my bit. I’m emotionally exhausted. If you read ‘til the end, thank you for hearing me out. You may not understand me, and you may think me heartless for not advocating for a man who could possibly be sick, a man who harassed and caused me trauma and anxiety, and that’s okay.

And to everyone who supported me in this—you will never know how much your words, actions, and defense meant to me this awful week.

acts-of-lasciviousness

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18 thoughts on “Trigger Warning.”

  1. Marami ngang ganyan, I experienced the same thing when I was in high school. Sa jeep din, a man had his dick out but at that time I’m not sure what I saw. Keep safe girl, may iba nga nangdadakot ng private parts kpg makasalubong mo sa daan. Thank you for this post 😊

    Like

  2. experienced the same thing inside the jeepney when I was in College, round 2008, the man in the jeepney showed his dick & started to masturbate while staring at me, my friend got alarmed so she grabbed my hand and we went down in the place where there are a lot of people.

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  3. Napakabastos. Hope your post would reach his mother, sister and employer. At sana wala pa siyang anak kasi nakakahiya siya.

    Also, sending you a virtual hug. It’s not your fault. Thank you for speaking out.

    Like

  4. I experienced the same thing, last year. Sa jeep din😢 nakita ko lang sya sa peripheral view ko and i know na nilabas nya yung ari nya. And I was so scared that time.

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  5. This is really disgusting and terrifying at the same time. Im 17 and knowing that this happened publicly is even terrifying. I wouldn’t know how to handle the situation if i was in your position. I should invest on a pepper spray too. It should come in handy if ever things get ugly.😑 im sorry you had to experience this.

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  6. Being harassed is no one’s fault, except for the harasser. I find that catcalling or sexually harassing someone is less about what that person is wearing, and more about the harasser’s need to display their power and make their victim uncomfortable and uneasy.

    Thank you for this post. Thank you for calling out rape culture.

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  7. Haha kaloka naman yan 😂 dapat pinahiya mopo kainis haha it’s a public place tapos gagawin niya yan 😕😏 hehe sakin nya gawin yan makita nya Keme ✌✌ sakit Sa bangs nyan bastos ii.

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  8. I have experienced this din on a jeepney. I was so scared kase I didn’t know what to do. It is not your fault na may mga tao lang talaga na walang respeto sa iba. You don’t have to explain yourself to them. I’m sorry that this happened to you. I’m sorry that this is the kind of society we live in. It shouldn’t happen to anybody no matter what you wear or where you are. Thank you for speaking up.

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  9. So butas yung pants ni kuya? And worse wala siyang brief? If it was taken out on his Zipper it should be open while he is doing that? Right? I’m a little confused about the pants, the brief and the ****. 😕. But, to be harassed by someone is a real shit. Its not your fault, its there Libog 😈

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  10. It happened to me on a jeep along Commonwealth and it was a full of passengers. I knew his d*ck was out but I dare not look at it, thankfully he left shortly after.

    Another time, an old guy in his 70s was sitting beside me on a bus. He was looking at me close to tears and whispering, I thought he was asking something, maybe he was lost and don’t know where to go down, so I went closer to hear, he was mumbling and I asked him to repeat, he said “lagi ko naiisip ang pu*e, di ko mapigil”, Needless to say, I moved to the back and found a seat. I wasn’t able to breathe properly until he left the bus.

    Both happened when I was in College. Sometimes these people are malicious and predatory, maybe some are psychologically ill and can’t stop the impulse, but one thing is for sure, it is not your fault. Do we need to harden ourselves and ignore someone who looks like they are in need to keep our sensitivities intact? That’s our dilemma. It does happen at any time, and it does happen at any place. And when it does happen, what next?

    I want to post something about is this a real crime, acts of lasciviousness, grave scandal, punishment and rights, but I’m lazy.

    Like

  11. Nangyarina din yan sakin twice. Yung una, tanghaling tapat din sa jeep. Katabi ko siya nagmamasturbate. Mainit non sa kabilang side ng jeep kasi nga tanghali kaya lahat ng tao nasa side namin, nasa dulo ako tapos siya sa tabi ko. Nung narealize ko na may mabilis na gumagalaw na maugat at parang may sumusulpot sulpot sa tabi ko, tinignan ko lang sa peripheral vision ko at ayun nga narealize kong ano niya yon. May jacket siya at bag pangtakip para di makita ng mga tao sa likod niya. So lumipat ako sa mainit na side ng jeep at tinignan ko lang siya ng masama. Yung mga ibang taong nasa jeep napatingin lang sakin wondering bakit ako lumipat doon.

    Yung pangalawa, MAS INTENSE. Pumunta ako sa wedding ng isang celebrity na fan ako, nasa labas lang kami naghihintay ng boyfriend ko at nakatayo. May mamang maliit sa tabi ko, since madami ngang tao medjo close siya. May sling bag siya na parang smooth ang texture at jacket (starter pack nila ‘yan). Naka shorts lang ako non, tapos nararamdaman kong may NAKADIKIT SA LEG KO. Panay naman ang tingin ko, pero yung sling bag at jacket niya lang ang nakikita ko kasi mas maliit siya sakin, hanggang balikat ko lang ata. So inaalis ko, tapos maya maya ganun ulit. Ilang oras din kami nakatayu don, hanggang sa iba na talaga ang pakiramdam ko, tinignan ko ulit at HULING KO SA AKTO NA NAKALABAS YUNG ANO NIYA, wala na yung bag at jacket sa side ko, HAWAK NIYA AT NAKADIKIT SA LEG KO, SABAY PASOK NIYA SA BASKETBALL SHORTS NIYA AT SINABING “ay!” Sabay takbo. Siniko ko siya pero mabilis siyang nakaiwas at maliit nga kasi siya so hindi ko tinamaan.

    Mga 1 min akong nakatulala lang, akala ng boyfriend ko nun nadukutan lang ako. Hinabol namin pero nawala na, nagsumbong pa kami sa pulis pero di na nakita.

    Umuwi akong… Hmm… Nabastos talaga ako. Masama sa pakiramdam. Hanggang ngayon alam ko pa saan eksato sa right leg ko yung kadiring feeling na ‘yon.

    Promise ko sa sarili ko, sa third time n mangyayari yun sakin. Ipapahiya ko na talaga ng bongga!!! Sabi ng highschool teacher ko, ganun daw ang gagawin e. Sabihin na “Ay, yan na yun? Ang liit liit naman niyan! Teka, may gunting ako dito e. Gupitin ko nga yan! Halika dito!”

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  12. Naku sa akin din nangyayari yang ganyan… Mula sa bahay nmin… Pag sa jyp aq papuntang school… O khit sa loob ng sinehan… Nakakaranas aq nababastos khit d nman aq maganda… Sa sinehan… Nanunuod kmi magpipinsan… Ay nakatayo kmi kc puno ung cnehan… Sa likod ko ramdam q may kumikiskis na mainitnit… Kaya ayun sumuksok aq sa harap ng mga pinsan q… Kaya ngyun may dalaga na aq… Pinagsasabihan q xa n mging alert xa… Wag magtiwala sa paligid…

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  13. Sabi ng nanay ko, parating magbaon ng payong. Para daw pag may nakitang ganyan, PUKPUKIN MO!!! Nang maubos ang lahi nila 😒

    Btw, naexperience ko din yan kasama sister ko last 2011. Early in the morning (around 5:30am, call time sa ROTC) we’re walking along Dapitan papasok sa UST. May group of boys na naglalakad sa harap namin same direction ng lakad namin. Una mejo dumistansya kami kasi baka mapagtripan kami. Until may mamang naglalakad approaching in our direction tapos napansin ko nakalabas yung ari nya. Binilisan namin lakad namin at mejo dinikitan yung group of boys para kunwari kasama namin sila. Jusme ka-trauma girl 😰 Sarap nilang bayagan.

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  14. Disgusting. Fist bump for speaking out and staying strong. I dont know how our society and law enforcement allows this to kind of thing to happen with regularity or what compels these people to act this way. But this is not right.

    Like

  15. the next time you encounter such kind of maniac, take your time, count on 3 then kick his dick! Make sure you hit the right area…believe me he will suffer too much and that was the time you can hit more on him, punch anything you want. And also it will call the attention of some passengers. you must defend yourself sometimes, don’t be afraid!

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  16. I never experienced someone doing that in public pero yung nangdadakama na experience ko na sa QC Circle. I was still in college at that time and I occasionally go for a jog before the break of dawn. I was doing my stretching bago tumakbo the all of a sudden me lalaking nagjogging past me at nandakma sa lower body ko. It happened so fast di ako naka react agad and it was too late for me to get anyone’s attention at natakot rin ako tumakbo para harapin siya. After niyan I never went jogging that early unless I have someone with me. Never told anyone as well.Nowadays, I have my handy dandy yellow cutter which saved me in almost the same situations. Mabagal na click click click palabas ng blade, ayos nang pantakot.

    Sana makita ang photo nito ng mga kakilala niya, let’s make this viral. Show them that their short stupid shenanigans comes with a price.

    P.S I was wearing jogging pants and a thick white cotton shirt. It’s not the clothes, it’s not the place, it’s not me, it’s them.

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  17. It’s very brave of you to post this. Binabasa ko pa lang, traumatized na ako. Hindi ko alam gagawin ko if this happened to me either but because of your blog, I hope I would be able to be more alert.

    Stay safe always!

    Like

  18. I’m a guy, and i want to share my own experience when i was in grade 4. It was in ever gotesco mall in commonwealth and it was around afternoon i saw this guy who’s crouching at the back of a girl wearing a long palda that’s lower than knee line (short skirts weren’t a thing in 2004) he’s holding a digital camera and i think that he might be taking pictures or taking a video. he even placed his hand inside the palda and the girl innocently scratched it and shrugged it off. If i was younger than i was that day and i have no knowledge of which is good or bad, i would’ve taken his actions as a good intention and it would have later mold me into a pervert. This is madness, i’m a man and i will never disrespect a woman and would rather give knowledge that women aren’t just for pleasure, men have hungered for lust through out the decades and it became worse, in my opinion, the lack of knowledge equals to a higher curiosity. This is not just applicable to this country but to the whole world.

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