As premier catalysts for change, student leaders from the Samahan Central Board (SCB), General Assembly of Class Presidents (GACP), and Campus Club Organizations (CCO) participated in the Basic Gender Orientation and Anti-Sexual Harassment Law Forum held at the Arrupe Hall last Sept. 17, 2018.
Organized by the Office of Student Affairs (OSA), the event was grazed by esteemed speakers from university, Director of Ateneo Migration Center and an Economics Department Faculty Mildred Megarbio-Estanda and Asst. to the Pres. for Research and Advocacy Atty. January Faye Risonar-Bello in order to share their expertise in connection with their respective field.
Estanda discussed basic gender concepts as a “preliminary to a bigger issue that involves everyone,” involving four premises: (1) Gender and Development (GAD) is not a war of sexes, (2) GAD is not anti-male, (3) women and men can both be victims of gender inequality, and (4) both men and women struggle for gender equality.
She also imparted some idea on gender roles and the Sexuality, Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression Equality Bill.
“Sexuality and orientation identity are actually very fluid and can be [changed],” she said, emphasizing that labels should not be “put in a box because they change across time.”
Meanwhile, Atty. Risonar-Bello tackled Republic Act 7877 or the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995 contextualized in an educational environment.
She defined sexual harassment as an “act or series of acts involving any unwelcome sexual advances” by a person “with authority, influence or moral ascendancy over another.”
“Sexual harassment is perceptive,” she said, highlighting that although facts of the case are very essential, the victim’s view on sexual harassment will also be highly regarded.
She also presented the mechanisms the educational institution should participate and assist in when a case of sexual harassment is raised such as establishing a committee on decorum and investigation, school assistance on pre-filing, and following the standard procedural requirements.
“The victims won’t go through the trouble and ordeal of being embarrassed if it (the harassment) didn’t happen,” she said.
The said forum encouraged student leaders to be more attentive towards these incidents especially within an environment of familiarity.