AS THE night reigns over the day, the cold air slowly touches my skin as I venture into a fairly lit pathway towards my house, but before I could, I needed to cross paths with a familiar enemy: the catcallers.
Funnily, the only weapon I could procure is a pair of pink earphones that plays music and drowns out the unwelcome cacophony, though a proven solution, the music could only offer a slight comfort. Every day and night, the same scenario happens and it poses a threat against my only weapon, that maybe one day they’ll soon find out my secret and rip it away from me.
Thankfully, Republic Act (RA) 11313 or the Safe Spaces Act exists to protect the welfare of women and young girls of today, though it still requires wide-spread of awareness. This law allows women and young girls to have safe spaces which enables them to reach their full potential in their different surroundings.
Furthermore, the law’s comprehensive information about the different forms of harassment helps people (or victims) to protect themselves from untoward actions. Somehow, it would cut the discrimination within workplaces that women are “least” seen in action.
Personally, I feel safer that such law exists and aims to protect the wellbeing of every person by creating a safe environment wherein no one is discriminated or harassed. In Article 1, Section 4 which is the “Gender-Based Streets and Public Spaces Harassment”, protects people from any form of public harassment which covers from cat-calling, wolf-whistling, unwanted invitations down to sexist slurs, this section in the article is what I appreciated the most as it implies that “safe spaces” does not only apply within offices or buildings but also recognizing the importance of every person to feel safe even while walking on the street.
Despite being late, it is still a great step for the government to hear out the concern of the people, though knowing that the integration of the law is not immediate, it bears hope that every woman could go out safely in the wee hours of the night whether it is to have fun or simply buying their favorite midnight snack from 7/11.
Generally, I appreciated how it recognizes the importance of every gender to feel safe within different spaces, and this gender inclusive approach shows that incidents of harassment does not contain exclusivity. Moreover, the careful specification found in section three of RA 11313 would not cause any vague understanding of the said law. Additionally, the Safe Spaces Act mobilizes local government units to protect their respective communities by requiring them to disseminate the information about this law.
In the end, it might not be an impossible dream for me to enjoy the sound of crickets chirping at night while going home after school, as this law creates a bigger protection for me, rather than the trusty pair of earphones. Soon, people would have the chance to venture anywhere without the blaring sound of music blaring against their ears. (Zoe Maquilan, Malayan Colleges Mindanao Communication student)