Harassment is a sad reality we have to consider during our daily routine, especially considering the Philippines’ track record. According to a 2018 Center for Women Resources study, a woman or child is raped every 62 minutes. In 2016, the Social Weather Stations conducted a survey in Quezon City, where they found that 88 percent of 18 to 24 year-old respondents have been sexually harassed at least once.
It’s not surprising to hear daily stories of catcalling and street harassment from women, myself included. It can happen in class, at your office pantry or even in your own home—all places you thought would be safe.
There has been some progress we can celebrate, like the Anti-Catcalling and Street Harassment Law signed by President Duterte this year. QC’s anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination ordinance was also passed last June, which is a big deal since it’s one of the largest and most populated cities in the country.
However, there’s still much to work on. You might have also noticed, but our local justice system isn’t the best. Police are intimidating, misogyny is still present (yes, “What were you wearing?” is still being asked in 2019), and taking action takes a backseat to a ton of paperwork. We continue to remain vulnerable, especially women and children.
Taking an extra step for security can be worth it, and it can get even easier with these apps. Stay safe out there, friends.
Circle of 6
Gather up your best friends and add them into your Circle of 6. The app lets you send an automatic SOS message with GPS coordinates to six contacts at the press of a button. If you’re in an uncomfortable situation, you can also send these six peeps a message to call you for so you can excuse yourself and bail if needed.
Download for iOS.
This can help you anywhere you are in the world. You can have as many emergency contacts as you can, with live trip sharing options to anyone on this planet. There’s also an option to shake your phone for an emergency, which will automatically alert your contacts. In case you don’t have any contacts wherever you’re traveling, Locator also has the option to alert other Locator app users near you.
Download for Android.
If you live in QC, Safetipin wants to guide you to the safest path to your destination by examining all the possible streets you can take. They “audit” the area through police reports and crowdsourced reviews. Is the street well lit? Are there lots of people nearby? Where’s the nearest police station at? It can also help someone you trust track your whereabouts so they’d know you got to your destination safe and sound. We like the catchy name, too.
The app is based in India, where there’s a high rate of street harassment committed against women. They’ve expanded to four other countries, including the Philippines. Right now, they’ve begun auditing QC, which is a start.
Ask Gabbie is a chatbot created by the women rights group Gabriela who helps you through the process of reporting a sexual harassment incident. Her language is friendly and most importantly, non-judgemental. Aside from the reports, Gabbie can also help in simply educating users about laws that protect them from sexual harassment.
Chat with Gabbie here.
Art by Renz Mart Reyes