MANILA -- The public should call out and ensure sanctions against those who abuse women, Vice President Leni Robredo said Wednesday, after lewd photos of several female students at the Philippine Science High School (PSHS) were circulated by their peers.
Nude photos of the underage students were uploaded online by their former boyfriends, 6 PSHS seniors, who were barred from their graduation rites, following protests by classmates and the alumni association.
"Perhaps we should not be surprised that even in a community of our nation’s brightest young minds, the poor treatment of women, at the hands of even those they trusted as intimates or friends, persists. The problem, after all, is not one of intelligence, but of culture," Robredo said in a statement.
Women, she said, have endured "various indignities in silence," including having their worth judged based on looks, assumptions that they are fit only for subordinate roles, and apprehension of verbal harassment or gender-based violence.
"What is worse, this condescension and abuse is presented as simply being 'the way of the world,' with those who protest dismissed as 'overreacting' or 'someone who cannot take a joke,'" she said.
The public, she said, "must make the conscious, if difficult, choice to change that culture."
"That begins with calling out behavior that is disrespectful and abusive to women, and ensuring that it is appropriately sanctioned. Not making excuses for it, not attempting to justify it, but recognizing it for the injustice it is, and taking the necessary steps to ensure it is not repeated again," said the Vice President.
Under PSHS’s code of conduct, students who engage in any form of voyeurism, including the posting of lewd photos and videos, shall not be eligible for graduation.