Of sexual harassment; more on sport of arnis
SPORTS FOR ALL - Philip Ella Juico () - March 14, 2012 - 12:00am

Our two columns on arnis prompted a number of reactions from various quarters, among them from sports enthusiast and, I would say, a thought leader in sports, former Philippine Sports Commission chairman, Perry Mequi.

Mequi wrote “it is unfortunate that despite the Arnis Bill approved in December 2010, arnis is still in the doldrums because the arnisadores couldn’t be united….nothing has been achieved to enable arnis to progress in spite of the Arnis Law authored by then Senator Miguel Zubiri. The story of Philippine arnis is another proof of how difficult it is to unite Filipinos for the common good…As the joke goes, if there are three Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in a foreign country, there will be three Filipino organizations. And the reason for lack of unity (may have something to do) with the production of arnis paraphernalia...Try purchasing an arnis gear for competition and you will be surprised at the array of armor suits and disparate prices…It will take a miracle to unite the arnisadores and, as I see it, it is not forthcoming.”

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The complaint of sexual harassment of former Philippine Olympic Committee president and now international football official Cristy Ramos against two Azkals players, has triggered comments which may just end up confusing rather than clarifying and eventually settling the issue. Azkals team manager Dan Palami says that based on his investigations, the whole incident could have been the result of a “misimpression”. Ramos, on the other hand, insists the two sexually harassed her in the presence of other players in the Azkals change room. It has also been reported that a formal investigation will be conducted by the Azkals team management, presumably after the squad arrives from Nepal.

We do not wish to make rash judgments and would rather wait for all the facts to emerge since giving opinions without any or few facts on hand is the easiest but most reckless and irresponsible action to take.

I would rather educate myself and others interested in familiarizing themselves in some degree with the whole topic and what constitutes sexual harassment. I did a little research and I was surprised, even startled, with what I read in the volumes of available literature. The readings are very instructive and working professionals should try to find out more about the matter. Some people may already be guilty of sexual harassment without knowing it when all they thought they did was engage in some playful, naughty and childish banter.

Michele Antoinette Paludi’s work in 1991, entitled “Academic and workplace Sexual Harassment” says sexual harassment is intimidation, bullying or coercion of a sexual nature, or the unwelcome or inappropriate promise of rewards in exchange for sexual favors. It does not have to be of a sexual nature, however, and can include (and here it becomes more hairy and complicated) offensive remarks about a person’s sex. For example, it is illegal (in America) to harass a woman by making offensive comments about women in general.

The most accessible source of information, Wikipedia, states that sexual harassment involves a range of behavior. It is said that the harassed usually first finds difficulty describing even to themselves and then to others about their experience. They assert that there are common effects of sexual harassment and retaliation including, among others, “having one’s personal life offered up for public scrutiny – the victim becomes the “accused”, and his or her dress, lifestyle and private life will often come under attack”; becoming publicly sexualized (groups of people “evaluate” the victim to establish if he or she is “worth” the sexual attention or the risk to the harasser’s career).

An article, “Sexual harassment too often leads to humiliation for victims” states that retaliation and backlash against a victim are very common, particularly a complainant. Victims who speak out against sexual harassment are often labeled troublemakers who are on their own power trip, or who are looking for attention. Similar to cases of rape or sexual assault, the victim often becomes the accused, with their appearance, their private life and character likely to fall under intrusive scrutiny and attack.

It may also serve as some kind of warning to point out that in the US, a manual called “Preventing Sexual Harassment” (BNA Communications Inc) states that sexual harassment includes: unwanted sexual looks or gestures; whistling at someone; catcalls; turning work discussions to sexual topics; sexual innuendos or stories; unwanted sexual teasing, jokes, remarks or questions; asking about sexual fantasies, preferences or history; personal questions about social or sexual life; telling lies or spreading rumors about a person’s personal sex life; neck massage; giving personal gifts; hanging around a person; touching a person’s clothing, hair or body; looking a person up and down (elevator eyes) and staring at someone.

ARNIS ARNIS BILL ARNIS LAW AZKALS COMMUNICATIONS INC CRISTY RAMOS DAN PALAMI HARASSMENT SEXUAL
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