Friday, July 25, 2008

Men's Realities

We had a three-hour GST at the Ipil dorm. About 30-50 young men attended this late night session. Three intriguing questions cropped up that made me realised there were realities uniquely from men's perspective. First, one young man observed that it was "fair" to debar Nancy Navalta from joining the women's run since she is a hermaphrodite. Another added it may be due to the hormonal secretions that made Navalta a more advantaged player compared to other women athletes. While their observations may present 'half-truths', the fact that Nancy was raised as a woman should have qualified her to run for the women's division (since there was also no competition level for 'transgendered' people). So, it must have been unfair for Nancy to be barred from the sports competition. Second observation was in a man-man intercourse, the penetrated might be the one who is exploiting the penetrator. This is in the context of rape. The law on rape stated that the penetrator is guilty of the crime, so this only pertains to women's rape. Men's rape is another reality that must be exposed. But nobody wants to stand up and point out that "hey, we men are also vulnerable to sodomy" which is a crime in Muslim countries. Third observation was about sexual harassment. A graduate student asked if sexual harassment that happened not in educational or work setting can be considered as such. We had a case where the professor invited his student to a party where the student was introduced as his boyfriend ( a lie). Will this incident constitute an SH case? Of course! but the excludes such setting. Another recent incident was when a first year woman was sexually harrased by her co-passenger in a Katipunan jeep plying from UP to Katipunan. Will this also constitute an SH case? The fact that the harasser is non-UP excludes it from the law; another fact is that it involves verbal abuse ( a less grave act). So, our recourse was to file it under Child Abuse law. But if the law covers even public harassment, all those incidents of gender violence maybe easily filed. It is high time the law must be expanded or redefined, for the sake of all genders.

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