MANILA - SM Supermalls vowed to be more gender sensitive after drawing flak for "rape shirts" sold in its department stores.
Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) Executive Director Emmeline Verzosa said Quennie Cua, vice-president for Marketing of SM Retail Inc., assured them in a letter dated October 14 that the incident won't happen again.
Cua told PCW that they will be reviewing their internal guidelines for suppliers and vowed to intensify their quality checking measures.
The management of SM Supermalls also said it is one with the public in condemning any act that suggests disrespect to others.
A photo of the ''rape shirt'' went viral online after it was posted by writer Karen Kunawicz, drawing outrage from the public.
Gabriela lawmaker Emmi de Jesus described the shirt as something meant to ''degrade, objectify and promote violence against women.''
SM immediately pulled out the "rape shirts.''
''We have immediately pulled out all the t-shirts of the consignor that distributes them, and we are investigating why it was included in our delivery of assorted t-shirts,'' it said.
The PCW said SM's response is a "welcome development" and reminded other private corporations to be gender sensitive.
''The task to eradicate discriminatory portrayal of women is not exclusive to government agencies. Private corporations, such as SM Supermalls, are also expected to exercise gender sensitivity at all times,'' Versoza said.
''If people begin to cultivate this concern for women, issues of rape and harassment, discrimination and violence, will never become a laughing matter and be fully removed from our system,'' she added.