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‘Sexual violence is display of power, rooted from injustice’

Thomasian feminist scholars asserted that sexual violence is a “matter of making [a] person powerless so [one] can feel powerful” and is deeply rooted from perceived injustice of earlier sexual abuse during the “Say No: A Talk on Consent and Violence Against Women” held at the Central Laboratory Auditorium yesterday, Nov. 6.

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Photo by Schiatzi Lonzanida/TomasinoWeb

Thomasian feminist scholars asserted that sexual violence is a “matter of making [a] person powerless so [one] can feel powerful” and is deeply rooted from perceived injustice of earlier sexual abuse.

Asst. Prof. Rhodora Lynn Lintag-Tababa, a sociology professor from the Faculty of Arts and Letters, said during her talk about gender-based violence that sexual violence results from the idea of a person being more powerful and has more advantage than others during the “Say No: A Talk on Consent and Violence Against Women” held at the Central Laboratory Auditorium yesterday, Nov. 6.

“[This] violence is coming from the idea that in the first place, ‘I believe I am more powerful. I have more advantage over you,’ so some people have the tendency to really discriminate and undermine other people and practice their power, and therefore can result to harassment and violence,” according to Lintag-Tababa.

Lintag-Tababa said that the explanation as to why sexual harassment is rampant up to this time is because “personal is political.”

“’Away mag-asawa ‘yan. LQ ng mag-jowa ‘yan. Wala tayong pakialam diyan because that’s personal,’… That is being used by the society [to not] actually look into the matters of the women who are being abused,” she said. “Because it is something personal.”

Women’s issues and concerns, according to her, are often disregarded, treated as petty or irrelevant, and considered as a personal matter in which no one should interfere.

Lintag-Tababa mentioned American sociologist C. Wright Mills’ concept of sociological imagination which identifies the personal as a reflection of something greater or wider political issues.

“The personal should be political. That is the cry. That is the statement. That should be the slogan that should empower women,” she said.

Matter of sexual control

“Rape is a legal term [and] not a medical entity. It is a crime of violence. […] Rapists use sexual violence to dominate and degrade their victims and to express their own anger,” Asst. Prof. Ma. Georgina Manzano of College of Nursing said.

According to Manzano, rape is perpetrated not because of the sexual urge but because when a person’s self esteem is threatened, he or she projects the feeling of being helpless and powerless to the victim.

“It is an issue of having power and control…It is not about having sexual urge towards the person [who is] wearing bikini. [It is when a] person sees the woman as a vulnerable individual. He might take over the ability of [the woman] to fight or protect herself,” she said during the open forum.

“The abuser or the rapist may have [had] some childhood experiences that could have triggered this kind of aggression towards another person,” she added.

Photo by Schiatzi Lonzanida/TomasinoWeb

Manzano emphasized that in social media, when men see pictures of women in revealing clothes, the initial reaction is not to have control over the latter through force or threat but is attributed to the Philippine culture in which women are expected to wear Maria Clara clothes.

“It starts with you, and it will end with you,” Tababa said. “Violence starts with you, especially if you are not aware that you are actually harassing or doing something that is already promoting violence against women […] It will also end with you if you will do something about it.”

The event “Say No: A Talk on Consent and Violence Against Women” was organized by the Thomasian Debaters Council, in partnership with UST Hiraya, Fotomasino, Tiger Media Network, and TomasinoWeb.

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Student organization condemn anti-terror bill provisions

The University of Santo Tomas (UST) The Political Science Forum (TPSF) condemned the constitutionality of the “questionable” provisions and mechanisms of the Anti-Terror Law (ATL).

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The University of Santo Tomas (UST) The Political Science Forum (TPSF) condemned the constitutionality of the “questionable” provisions and mechanisms of the Anti-Terror Law (ATL).

“[T]he Draconian measures pointed out by critics of the law emphasized on the stifling of dissent and criticism, and the possible danger of disregarding the democratic freedom of every Filipino,” the statement released yesterday, July 4 read.

TPSF also called for vigilance among Filipinos amid the signing of the Anti-Terror Bill into Law last Friday, July 3. 

“Given this turn of events, the Forum calls for vigilance among all Filipinos in ensuring that its enforcement shall be free from disfranchisement of fundamental rights of everyone,” the Forum said. 

TPSF stressed that government critics, student activists, indignant masses, and indigenous groups in the country are the “most vulnerable” in the enforcement of the highly scrutinized warrantless investigations and arrest. 

According to the Forum, the provisions of the law, specifically on the prolonged detention of the alleged violator and lesser liability of law enforcers from erroneous accusations, “may result in power tripping and reckless law enforcement.” 

“[T]he balance of power in handling revolving around terrorism are centered to the executive department whereas the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) shall be comprised of presidential appointees, members who have most likely to have conflict of interest with the state,” TPSF said. 

The Forum also questioned the “practicality and relevance of the bill” during the pandemic.

A group of lawyers and civic leaders, led by Lawyer Howard Calleja, filed yesterday, July 4, the very first petition against the newly signed ATL before the Supreme Court. Jayziel Khim Budino

 

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Students not ready for self-directed learning—EdTech director

Students “may not be really ready” for self-direction and learning independence without “prodding from the teachers,” the University’s Educational Technology Center (EdTech) director said yesterday, June 27.

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Screengrab from the Learning in Focus webinar

Students “may not be really ready” for self-direction and learning independence without “prodding from the teachers,” the University’s Educational Technology Center (EdTech) director said yesterday, June 26.

“With or without pandemic, no single tool really and no amount of technology would be the solution to all our instructional problems,” Asst. Prof. Anna Cherylle Ramos, president of Philippine e-Learning Society, said during a webinar about shifting from classroom to online term.

Virtual monitoring sessions and centralized e-learning support unit, according to Ramos, was provided by the University to the teachers for the implementation of an online learning system.

“For the context of the University of Santo Tomas that has been using online technology for almost 20 years since 2002, we had the edge of implementing our continuity plan for teaching and learning right away after the declaration of the lockdown,” she said.

Ramos mentioned that in a survey conducted by the University, 98-percent of the faculty and 94-percent of the students have no stable internet connection.

“Out of our survey, we were able to locate the students with no internet connection and with our partnership with major telecom companies who were able to deliver the devices and the pocket wifi devices, so that they are able to finish the semester,” she said.

“I guess for me, COVID-19 also provided some positive contribution because it has unleashed a revolution in our education,” Ramos said.

Challenges ‘more psychological’

The bigger challenge in taking the education online, according to De La Salle Lipa College of Information and Engineering Dean Jorge Bacobo, is more psychological than technical.

“Those [technological problems], we know what the solutions are,” Bacobo said. “It’s getting the people who are involved for example in our schools, teachers, parents, administrators, to adjust to a revolution that’s forced [on] us by pandemic.”

“It’s really the evolution of people and how they have to change their relationships with each other in order to address the new needs of a new normal,” he added.

Bacobo emphasized that the pandemic changing the whole world challenged more the relationship between the students and the teachers and between the teachers and their teaching platform.

“Teachers suddenly realized they’re not anymore the sages on the stages. They’re now set aside. They’re more like guides on the side…They are no longer the medium of instruction,” he said.

Bacobo explained that the digital infrastructure has become the new medium and the teacher’s “avatar” or representative.

Department of Education Undersecretary Nepo Malaluan also said that online learning is “a very potent tool.”

“When we talk about the learning continuity in this time of COVID and doing distance learning, online learning is only one of the modalities,” he said. 

“Our viewers and our parents and learners and the public and sometimes even policy makers equate distance learning with the online learning platform,” he added. 

Technological challenges of online learning, according to Malaluan, are the capacity of teachers in delivery of large-scale online learning, conversion of classroom-based learning resources to distance learning resources, and the cost of online learning to the students.

Ramos urged the students that despite the teachers being “converted into text,” students should be more understanding as the issue of bandwidth impedes the online availability of the teachers.

“Online technology or online instructions would just be one of the many things we can do to be able to deliver that content,” Ramos said. “[Students] must realize that while we are doing something like this, we still have your teaching presence.”

“The learning activities themselves and the step by step procedure being given by the teachers is in fact the teaching presence themselves. There should be that understanding on both parties,” she said.

The webinar, “Learning in Focus,” was organized by the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Inq To be You, and INQUIRER.net.

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CSC decries ‘unlawful arrest’ of ‘Pride 20’

The University Central Student Council (CSC) condemned the “violent and unlawful” arrest of 20 protestors who participated in the Pride March held in front of Mendiola Peace Arch, Friday morning, June 26. 

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Carmina Beatriz Dizon/TomasinoWeb

The University Central Student Council (CSC) condemned the “violent and unlawful” arrest of 20 protestors who participated in the Pride March held in front of Mendiola Peace Arch, Friday morning, June 26. 

“[It] is a clear abuse of undignifying power against our LGBTQIA+ brothers and sisters,” CSC’s statement read.

The protestors who were arrested called to junk the controversial Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, which is set to lapse into law on July 9. 

Different progressive groups who joined the rally were dispersed by the police, despite observing health protocols such as physical distancing and wearing of face masks.

“Our expression of dissent will never be an act of terrorism. Pride is a protest. #FreePride20!” CSC said. 

According to reports and posts circulating online, several police were seen “hijacking” one of the demonstrators’ private vehicles to bring them to the police station. 

The police nabbed 20 people, 10 of which are members of Bahaghari including its spokesperson Rey Valmores-Salinas, eight members of Gabriela, and two drivers.

Salinas took to Twitter to express her concern on their arrest: “Hinuli man kami ngayon, walang pandemiya, walang lockdown, at mas lalong walang mga pasistang baboy ang makapipigil ng pagsinag ng Bahaghari. #SulongWagPatinag.” 

#FreePride20

The arrested protestors were not informed of their violations and were not read of their Miranda rights, which angered the netizens.

The #FreePride20 trended on Twitter as netizens called for the immediate release of the ‘Pride 20,’ which were currently detained at the Manila Police District headquarters.

Miss Universe 2019 Catriona Gray as well as groups such as Gabriela Women’s Party, Bahaghari, and Metro Manila Pride also condemned the arrest. 

Three minors were already released, but the remaining are set to spend the weekend in detention as inquest proceedings resume on Monday.

The Metro Manila Pride March was originally set on June 27. However, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the event was cancelled and will be held via virtual gathering instead. 

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