Content warning: The following story details accounts of sexual assault and non-consensual sharing of intimate images.
With more women getting inspired to speak up about sexual harassment these days, not a week has gone by without a new case coming to light. The #HijaAko movement started a ripple effect where survivors are starting to demand accountability not just from abusers but from institutions as well. Last week, #MCDoBetter trended with students sharing stories of being groomed by teachers. Today, #USTSHSDoBetter is gaining traction on Twitter as students are rallying to get an alleged sexual predator expelled from the University of Santo Tomas Senior High School (UST-SHS).
The tag trended after a UST-SHS student posted a series of tweets on Jun. 28 alleging that a fellow student is a sexual predator. The Twitter user recounts how he suddenly opened up to her about saving videos and pictures of a mutual friend and asked her to keep it a secret since he had no plans of sharing those around. When she confronted him about it afterward, he denied the incident and stated that he couldn’t recall having that conversation with her. In another tweet, the user posted a screenshot of a message from someone who alleges that he sexually assaulted her on the way back to her place and that a security personnel even asked whether she was okay after witnessing it through CCTV footage. Another person came forward with a story of how the alleged abuser demanded sexual favors from an intoxicated friend and someone corroborated this story by sharing how the man showed off a video he took of the incident.
Preen has reached out to the alleged abuser and the Twitter user who posted the thread but we have yet to receive a response. We have also reached out to the UST central student council and the UST school administration, who have not yet publicly released their official statements, for comment.
With #USTSHSDoBetter, current and former UST-SHS students are standing as a community to call for the promotion of safe space inside the university. Together, they are demanding not only for the expulsion of the alleged abuser but for the administration to make decisions with student safety rather than public image in mind in regards to similar cases. An abuser from the school was once sentenced to community service after being found guilty of sexual abuse allegations and some fear that this might happen again.
Student Mikaela Leetong says in a tweet, “Wag niyo sabihin na ‘this will ruin his life’ because he already ruined a lot of women’s lives. Don’t let him get away [with] this.”
ust shs should do something regarding this issue. Wag niyo sabihin na “this will ruin his life” because he already ruined alot of women’s lives. Don’t let him get away from this. make UST a safe place for everyone and GIVE HIM THE PUNISHMENT THAT HE DESERVES.
— Mika 🤟🏻 (@LeetongMikaela) June 28, 2020
A tweet from James Mercado reads, “This is a call for everyone. Students will do their part by reporting and the authorities/administrators SHOULD take immediate actions. Kung sa ibang bagay mabilis ang aksyon, sana sa mga ganitong isyu rin. We will never tolerate this kind of bs.”
#USTSHSDOBETTER — This is a call for everyone. Students will do their part by reporting and the authorities/admnistrators SHOULD take immediate actions. Kung sa ibang bagay mabilis ang aksyon, sana sa mga ganitong isyu rin.
We will never tolerate this kind of bs.
— James Mercado (@james_edver) June 28, 2020
Update: The Twitter user has since reached out to Preen.ph and told us that they, along with the sexual abuse survivors, are now talking with the UST-SHS administration and student council. The school’s administration is currently processing the case and said that they will not condone such behavior.
Photo courtesy of Joseph Chan from Unsplash
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