[Statement] CHR spokesperson, Atty. Jacqueline Ann de Guia, on the recent offences against women’s dignity

Media plays a powerful role in shaping mindsets on critical issues. As such, they are seen as secondary duty bearers charged with the duty to equally ensure that their conduct contributes to the protection and promotion of rights.

As such, the Commission on Human Rights lauds ABS-CBN for not condoning inappropriate behaviour, including a rape joke, made in one of its programs. We believe that appropriating a sanction for the offence made, rather than dismissing it as a display of humour, sends a strong message on the need to respect everyone’s rights and dignity, especially women. We hope that this episode on national television serves as a teachable moment for all Filipinos.

On a similar note, we urge the University of Santo Tomas to ensure that those who leaked the lewd photos and videos of women without their consent are dealt with the highest standards of justice and human dignity in mind.

Schools and universities are expected to help shape values of their students, alongside parents and guardians. It is, then, in the best interest of the children to be able to correct actions early, particularly those seen to disrespect and devalue the humanity of others by disregarding their rights, while those who can be made accountable before our laws are tried for the alleged wrong that was done. In this way, we demonstrate that human rights are everyone’s concern—not of only those involved in violations.

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