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I will be joining the Miss Earth girls today for the official start of Miss Earth. I still do not have my luggage but that won’t stop me! Thanks to @misschrystalle I was given some clothes from Dickies and picked up some dresses at Mango. I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given and will do my very best to represent Canada 🇨🇦 despite and road bumps along the way. At the end of the day it is all about the inner beauty and self love that will shine above all and missing luggage can’t change that! 💕🙏🌏. 📸 by: @jaysondomingophotography 🌷This entire shoot was done with out make up and in comfy clothes to show that beauty is being comfortable in your own skin. Be proud of who you are and own it because self fulfillment doesn’t come from anything but yourself 🙌
First off, let me just say that no woman asks to be sexually harassed. It doesn’t matter if you’re wearing normal clothes or a gown, this act is not the fault of the victim/s.
That said, three beauty queens who were competing in the Miss Earth International 2018 in the Philippines last Nov. 2 have come forward with stories that they were allegedly harassed by a sponsor. Miss Canada Jaime Yvonne VandenBerg first posted on Instagram about how a unnamed man from the Manila Yacht Club got her number without her consent and asked her for sexual favors to get ahead of the competition, plus tried to get her hotel number. She also claimed that she and six other girls felt uncomfortable when he took them to a yacht party.
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Hot tea is served!☕️☕️☕️ #Youbethejudge #MeToo #PleaseAddressTheSexualHarrassment #MissEarth2018 My thoughts: even if the sexual harassment was told a little late, it should have been addressed and not taken lightly. In the IG story by @celeste_cortesi , it seems like the team manager is more concerned about the laughing issue more than the sexual harassment. If you are a team manager, making excuses like taking care of 30 delegates makes it hard to address all their concerns is UNACCEPTABLE! There is CLEAR NEGLIGENCE on her part by not addressing this sexual harassment issues even if it was reported late. This is the main reason why there are STIGMA on women being harassed because they can't even find support to their fellow women!
Jaime also alleged that team managers only laughed and told them to be nice to the sponsor. “I went through almost two weeks of sexual harassment before anything was done about it,” she wrote. She also added that she had to fight to get her passport back because all of them were confiscated on the first day of the pageant, which made it feel like she couldn’t leave.
This is also the explanation as to why Jaime left the country early and didn’t compete in the pageant. Lorraine told GMA News that Jaime was given her passport immediately when she asked for it (contrary to earlier claims) and she was gone by Oct. 22.
After Jaime posted her story, Miss Guam Emma Mae Sheedy and Miss England Abbey-Anne Gyles-Brown shared similar experiences from the same man. All three of them said that Lorraine Schuck, VP of Miss Earth, promised that he wouldn’t be allowed around contestants and won’t be present in their events anymore. But, as Abbey-Anna recounted, he was still there during the prelims and coronation night.
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My personal encounter @missearth. • It’s time to speak up about my personal experience. I have been in close contact with my national director and all incidents have been noted. I have worked very hard for my title of Miss Earth England and as I have previously mentioned I took 4 years to get to the top and win my place at the Internationals. I was elated to finally represent England over in the beautiful Philippines. My trip was a rollercoaster of emotions, stress and endurance and I did not leave the pageant as I was not going to miss out on the experience. I have many beautiful memories of my time here in the Philippines and many wonderful days. I met happy Filipinos who showed me such kindness and respect. I enjoyed 50% of my trip but the other 50% was over shadowed by feeling exploited, vulnerable, unnerved & sexually harassed as I was approached by a sponsor on many occasions who asked for sexual favours in exchange for the Crown. This happened at Manila Yacht Club on a sponsored evening meal away from the team managers behind closed doors. The sponsor also tried to find out what hotel and room I was staying in. Myself and Canada approached Team Manager to express our disgust only to be laughed at. Another official attendee of the night told me not to cry as I would ruin my makeup! There was no respect or compassion shown to myself or Jaimie. I felt traumatised by this experience and had many sleepless nights. I was not sure who had my personal details including my mob number and hotel room. It was not only myself and Canada who were approached on this night but other delegates who I believe are going to come forward and tell their side of the story. I approached Lorraine Schuck who is the Vice President Of Miss Earth she informed me that the sponsor would be removed from all contact with contestants but this did not happen. As other groups experienced the same issue. Myself and @missjaimeyvonne removed ourselves from this uncomfortable environment and sat on the bus away from further exploitation. This is one of many incidents we faced during our Miss Earth Journey! The said sponsor in fact show up at a prelim event and also attended the Coronation night
Meanwhile, Miss Philippines Celeste Cortesi shared a series of screenshots from a Miss Earth team manager who wanted to explain their side. Long story short: She only defended claims that they laughed at the women’s situation, and how they are always picking up after them. She briefly acknowledged the alleged sexual harassment, but then accused the women for telling them “when it was already too late.” She also emphasized that they’re watching over 30 women, so they should at least be grateful for their service in the situation.
One word: Yikes.
The Miss Earth organization has yet to issue a statement on the matter. As of writing, their Instagram account was switched to private. Meanwhile, Lorraine maintained that Jaime didn’t tell anyone about what happened in the two weeks she mentioned. Additionally, she got mad at the team managers for not telling her about the incidents. “Ipu-pull out ko lahat (I’ll pull out everything) because I won’t allow that to happen,” Lorraine said.
Many have sent messages to the beauty queens, thanking them for speaking out on the issue. We also hope that something changes within the pageant community to create a safe space for all where they can properly address and resolve issues of sexual harassment. And definitely not make the women feel like they’re hassling someone (ie. team managers) by coming forward.
Photo courtesy of Jaime Yvonne Vandenberg’s Instagram account
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