The Harvey Weinsteins of the Philippines
Iris Gonzales (The Philippine Star) - October 18, 2017 - 4:00pm

Whether it’s a sleazy borrowed room in a hotel overlooking Manila Bay, in the back seat of a sleek SUV or in a swanky office on the top floor of a skyscraper in Makati, any place can be a crime scene. And every man - prince or pauper, rich or poor, tycoon or thief – can be guilty as hell.

The stories are endless as they are varied – a stolen kiss, a wolf whistle, shameless masturbation, rape and many, many more.

Indeed, sexual harassment is not confined to the world of Harvey Weinstein. In reality, it’s a world filled with Harvey Weinsteins.

Yes, Hollywood may be a world away, but when it comes to sexual harassment, it’s a very common problem and every country has a story to tell.

The Philippines is no exception. Three in five women have experienced sexual harassment, according to the 2016 survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations.

A lot of men in power – no matter how dapper or altruistic they seem – will turn out to be the kind of men our parents warned us about – pervert, misogynist, dirty and merciless.

If there was a bloody campaign against it just like the drug war, I bet many of Manila’s male population would be wiped out by now. I’m exaggerating of course but I hope my point isn’t lost.

Harassment in the workplace

Yes, the likes of Weinstein are all over the place, often in the workplace.

Businessmen, no matter how sleek they are in their Hermes ties and tailored suits, are among the culprits.

There is this tycoon, for instance, who talks about sex as if he is a teenager and not in his 80s. Sources said this wealthy businessman has a Harvey tendency although less “harmful” because at his age now, he is usually all bark. But then again, innuendos are wrong, too.

There is this big boss of a media giant known to favor attractive women in his company – celebrities included – if they would agree to his “requests.” One female celebrity threatened to sue him, but nothing happened. The celebrity was forgotten and ignored by the klieg lights since then.

There is this famous architect whose perversion is so embarrassing that once on a trip overseas, one of his colleagues called his attention because of the out-of-line caressing he attempted with the group’s host.

There is this banker-turned-government official who was often seen kissing different women in his very own office somewhere in Makati.

There is also a former president of the National Power Corp. (Napocor), whose victims attest, would start as a mentor type boss. This father figure, however, will make sexual advances soon after he wins your trust, the sources said.

And then there’s a ranking military officer who ordered his female subordinate to watch him while having sexual intercourse with a certain “Miss Glacy.”

This list can go on and on. The actions of these men are textbook violations of the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995.

I’ve had my own encounters with dirty old men and for saying no, I’ve made some enemies.

Unfortunately, these acts continue even as the world has supposedly evolved.


Louise Fitzgerald, a psychologist at the University of Illinois said sexual harassment has a lot to do with asserting power and trying to get someone to bed.

Noah Berlatsky, author of “Wonder Woman: Bondage and Feminism in the Marston/Peter Comics, 1941-1948.” said sexual harassment is the direct result of patriarchy—a system in which men hold majority of the power, and in which masculinity is glorified.

The ultimate expression of this power is the ability to act with sexual impunity. Patriarchy, he said, gives men carte blanche to diminish others’ humanity.

It’s a grim reality women face everyday.

And there is no single way to address the issue. It seems so easy to tell ourselves to “just say no,” but when you’re in that situation you can be very stunned no matter how fearless you are.

It is, therefore, not enough to teach our daughters to stand up against sexual harassment. It is also important to teach our sons to respect every human being, man or woman and to treat others as they would want others to treat them.

I hope that someday, hopefully soon, men will finally realize that uncontrollable libidos and raging hormones are not cool at all and that those who disrespect women are looked down upon.

To use one’s physical power and position over a woman is not only unfair but very medieval.

I am not generalizing and I salute and admire the gentlemen out there.

Me love you long time

My hope is that in a post-Harvey world, men will finally realize that sexual harassment is no longer acceptable, it is inhuman and it is wrong.

If you really want to get laid, you don’t need to commit a crime. There are other ways. You can for instance find your own Saigon lady who will tell you, “me love you long time.” Dating still works, too. A good conversation may also do the trick because women love to listen and talk. And brilliance is always orgasmic.

Now if all that fails, go get yourself a pair of Viktor Jeans.

Iris Gonzales’s e-mail address is

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