As much as we want victim-blaming to disappear, there are still some people who never learn. A few days ago, a woman was allegedly harassed by her Uber driver. She fell asleep in the front seat and woke up with the driver trying to kiss her.
Following the news, reporters Ted Failon and Noli De Castro commented about the incident on their morning radio show. Listeners weren’t too happy about what they heard as the two men said that the woman shouldn’t have fallen asleep and sat in front. “Dapat sa passengers’ seat talaga,” (You should be sitting in the passengers’ seat) Noli said.
Ted Failon and Noli de Castro reporting about an Uber driver sexually harassing his passenger who sat on the front seat
Noli: wag kasi mauupo sa harap dapat sa passengers' seat talaga
Ted: wag na kasi matulog sa sasakyan
totoo ba kayo mga sir
— Joji Ann Santos (@ayokonadesu) February 4, 2018
"Bakit kasi sa harapan umupo. Dapat sa likod." "Wag ka matulog." – comment ni Noli de Castro dun sa babaeng hinalikan ng Uber driver habang tulog. Bobo mo po.
— Seaweed Brain (@JohnnyAboonajmi) February 4, 2018
Here in our office, several of us prefer ride-sharing services because it’s deemed safer and more convenient than using public transportation. We’re sure many would agree as well. So if a passenger was harassed, how is it their fault?
We’re supposed to trust our drivers to be decent, respectful human beings and to drop us off safely. We don’t want them to take advantage of us regardless of where we sit in their vehicle.
There was a similar case of assault last year which involved an Uber driver. A woman accused him of attempted rape while she sat in the front seat. Inquirer.net reported that the driver “embraced the victim and told her to hold his genitals” and “allegedly pulled her hair to force her to perform oral sex.”
Again, that wasn’t the victim’s fault. Putting the blame against them just continues the cycle of rape culture, which is the very culture that encourage creeps to make such unsolicited acts. It’s especially disappointing when you hear these kinds of comments from influential men like Ted and Noli.
Informing people and telling them to be careful is one thing. But don’t use your public platform to dictate what the victim should’ve done to avoid sexual assault and harassment. How about telling drivers to not kiss a sleeping passenger or force them into performing oral sex? Because we should all focus on the fact that predators like them deserve to be penalized and not put the burden of assault onto the victims.
Art by Lara Intong
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