Expose the people behind the reported Filipino male-dominated “secret groups” on Facebook that post and share obscene photos of women and children.
This call was made on Thursday by Sen. Risa Hontiveros, head of the Senate Committee on Women, on Facebook, pro-women netizens and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) so she can push for a public hearing on the issue when Congress resumes session on July 24.
She said some of these secret groups bear names such as the “Pastor Hokage Bible Study,” whose members use terms like “Amen” to express their approval for sexist remarks and obscene photos of women and children posted on their Facebook accounts.
“We will unmask all these misogynists, prosecute them to the full extent of the law and hold them accountable,” Hontiveros warned.
The senator reiterated the need to pass a law that will impose stiff penalties against people who exchange lewd and illicit photos of women and children on social media.
“These people have no right to enjoy our Internet freedom only to abuse our women and children. We will not allow them to shame our young women, suppress their right to express themselves through social media and contribute to a culture of misogyny and hate,” she said.
Hontiveros already filed Senate Bill (SB) 1251 or the Anti-Gender-Based Electronic Violence (GBEV), which seeks to penalize those responsible for misogynistic and homophobic attacks on social media.
The bill defines GBEV as “acts involving use of any form of information and communications technology which causes or is likely to cause mental, emotional or psychological distress or suffering to the female victim or lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) victim, and tending to disparage the dignity and personhood of the same on account of his or her gender.”
The offenses listed in the bill include harassing or threatening the victim through text messaging, posts in social media sites, or other cyber, electronic, or multimedia means.
SB 1251 proposes a penalty of imprisonment of not less than five years but not more than 10 years and a fine of not less than P100,000 but not more than P500,000.
In the case of the “Hokage Pastor” Facebook groups, Hontiveros said the maximum penalty should be applied given that these acts are repeated, involve multiple women at any given time and may even be profited from.
“We must put an end to this online locker room talk, which is a manifestation of the culture of misogyny and commodification of women prevalent in our country right now,” she added.