NOTE: This story was first published in The Bohol Chronicle’s Sunday print edition.
Senator Risa Hontiveros tackled the Safe Spaces Act during her visit to Tagbilaran City last Friday.
Hontiveros took part as a speaker in a forum on Safe Spaces Act organized by the advocacy group Every Woman with Pilipina and Pandayan Women-Bohol at the Ceremonial Hall of the New Provincial Capitol Building.
With women of Bohol, youth and transport sector leaders as her audience, she emphasized the importance of her breakthrough law, Safe Spaces Act or Bawal Bastos Law that aims to end gender-based harassment both in public, private and online spaces.
Hontiveros shared the challenges she had to overcome in passing the law.
Being a mother and a woman herself, she knew well how women are treated in a misogynistic society.
Hontiveros also addressed the question of Safe Spaces being anti-men.
She believes otherwise and pointed out that men take a big part in the transformative process, preventing them to fall into the culture of ‘kabastusan’.
Part of the EveryWoman project is to conduct learning sessions and empowerment campaigns like this event.
Hontiveros also delivered a short message to the students of Holy Spirit School of Tagbilaran in their event WO+MEN: Tackling Issues Young Men and Women Face Today.
In the presence of about 700 students and school officials, she talked about the negative effects of social media to one’s self-esteem and relationships, linking it to the core of the Safe Spaces Law and Mental Health Law: treating others with respect and dignity no matter their gender or status might be.