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What I Wore That Day

Text: Kaela Malig | Video: Lala Lacsina, Yvan Limson | Illustrations: Margaret Claire Layug, Kristel Serrano
July 6, 2020

Some names have been changed to protect the identities of the survivors. Details in this story may trigger survivors of sexual harassment.

Eighteen years may have passed but Paula can still remember what she wore that day: a loose plain white shirt paired with her soft pajama bottoms. She was five, and she put on what she knew was comfortable to wear as she prepared to sleep. She went to bed fully clothed, with every inch of her skin covered up. Her father still raped her.

Pat recalls wearing a long pair of black pants that went well with her pink sleeved blouse as she went to church. Walking back home, a group of six men still followed her around and recorded her on video.

Over the past few weeks, women have continued to tell their #HijaAko stories after Frankie Pangilinan called out broadcaster Ben Tulfo, who called her “hija” while claiming that women were “inviting the beast” with the clothes they wear.

After Frankie used the hashtag in a bid to put an end to the victim-blaming culture in the country, hundreds of women have come forward with their own stories of sexual harassment, abuse, and rape.

Each of these women tell painful yet hauntingly similar stories. They describe in detail what they wore that day — pink blouses, long shirts, uniforms, lanyards, baggy pants — and ask how anyone could still believe they deserved it.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse, please do not hesitate to contact the following for assistance:

PNP Women and Children Protection Center - (02) 723 0401

Women Crisis Center - 0928-420-0859 / 0999-577-9631 / 0916-246-7470

NBI Anti-VAWC Division - (02)8525-6028 / (02)8523-8231 to 38 loc. 3444