‘Words do matter, Sir’
It breaks my heart to hear the highest official in the country degrade women the way he does (mind you, this isn’t the first time) and you are told by his men to laugh it off and not to take it too seriously. So you sit there as he speaks about women the way he does and you watch with unease as other men follow suit.
It’s easier to stay silent. It’s easier to watch the world walk backwards while you hide. To stay in your vacuum with like-minded people and ignore the laughter and statements of defense from people you’ve long learned to ignore. It’s easy until it gets really hard, and you remember that you have to live in a world where people like that think it’s okay to speak of other people that way.
In a world where I watched women move mountains I feel like it’s an injustice to say nothing especially when I grew up watching my Nanay be an amazing wife, raise six kids and run a foundation. How can I stay silent? When I work in an industry with strong-willed, competent women who create the most beautiful textiles while supporting their families and raising their own kids, how can I stay silent? When I watch my sisters, titas and friends excel in this world and make it a better place, how can I stay silent? When I grew up with a Tatay who taught me to fight back and with brothers who knew how to treat women with respect, how can I stay silent? I was not raised to laugh at these jokes and take them lightly. I wasn’t told to politely chuckle at offensive comments when I disagreed with them.
Remember that words do matter, Sir, and things like this should be taken seriously. Because we want to live in a world where we are not reduced to our genitalia, where people don’t just touch you in places that aren’t for them and where you don’t have to publicly shame or knock them in the face when they just can’t get the concept of “no.”
No, we shouldn’t have to fight for our fundamental right to be respected but we do. And you, Sir, are not making it easier. “Kasi sa totoo lang, dapat talaga ang mayor ang mauna” and so what kind of example are you setting? The charm of your “being real” has long faded and to be honest you are being too real right now and your true colors don’t suit you and the position you hold.
ROSAL LIM, Palawan
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