Women protecting women: Female jeepney passengers team up to help distressed commuter from being harassed

Photo: @69caIum/Twitter

Commuting in the Philippines is no walk in the park — add to that a sexual harasser and it’s a complete nightmare. That’s what a woman experienced inside a jeepney recently when she was ogled by a fellow passenger. But girl power prevailed when other women protected her from further harassment.

Twitter user Angelique Joy Pabon (@69caIum) shared a now-viral video of the incident on Saturday. In it, a man can be seen staring intently at the woman for an uncomfortably long period of time. After noticing that she was in distress, other women inside the jeepney helped her get away from the man by having her move seats.

“SHOUT OUT TO THIS SEXUAL HARASSERS!!!!!!!” Pabon said.

The woman was one passenger away from the man staring at her. A woman next to the distressed passenger motioned her to sit closer to her, which she did.

But the man was persistent and tried to sit beside the woman. His plan failed, however, when the two women stood up and moved to the other side of the jeep. Another woman even stood up from her seat so the two can stay there.

Pabon told Coconuts Manila through a Twitter message that the incident happened on Saturday in Iloilo City while she was on her way home from school. She said the three women rode the jeepney together with one other woman.

She said she thought the guy was a snatcher so she was already wary of him. “Suddenly he looked at me and started smiling like a maniac so I looked outside just to avoid him.”

After a few minutes, the man started staring at the woman, as seen in the video. “That’s the time I started filming it. Because he started to act strange,” Pabon said.

“We (passengers) didn’t expect him to sit beside her, because he had a lot of space [where he was],” she told Coconuts.

The video now has over 1.51 million views, 39,000 likes, and 13,000 retweets. Many were angered by the incident.

Twitter user @jaicabajar said in a mix of English and Filipino: “SEE HOW WOMEN ADJUST JUST TO PROTECT EACH OTHER AND YET WE STILL BLAME THEM BECAUSE bOys wILL bE bOys? If you’re a sexual harasser, you’re a sexual harasser.”

A lot also commended the women in the video for defending the victim. @kklknmn said: “I love how women protect other women. That guy’s crazy.”

@lynsoo_ said: “The girls protecting her omfg I love.”

One user with the handle @Christi18270387 asked why the man was a sexual harasser when he was just looking at the woman.

“He didn’t touch you, he just looked at you and smiled. He’s a sexual harasser if he touched her and took out his penis but I didn’t see anything strange in the video.”

@itsatemar quickly quashed this misconception by saying: “sexual harassment can include but it’s not limited to: inappropriate looks or staring at someone’s body; physical intimidation (standing/sitting too close to someone, following someone, etc.); unwanted attention for a long period of time is inappropriate.”

Twitter user @ronaldpogiiiii said that if the guy was handsome, the woman would be flattered. “But he’s not, so he’s a sexual harasser.”

Another Twitter user @DotzGoh retaliated and said: “Dude, even if he’s handsome, if he looks at you that long and even came closer, IT’S SCARY. I don’t think you understand how women are legit scared for their lives around men.”

Experiences like this are quite common in the Philippines. In December, a woman lambasted a man who exposed his penis to her in a bus. In March, a woman schooled the internet on victim blaming when she was groped inside a jeepney.


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