Bea Rose Santiago encourages other victims to speak up about sexual harassment

IMAGE @bea.santiago on Instagram

Miss International 2013 Bea Rose Santiago opens up about the traumatic episodes of sexual molestation and harassment in her life in solidarity with the international #MeToo Movement. "I opened a very dark room with many secrets. People are talking and discussing it. Teens and women are messaging me, thanking me and confiding! I am trying to help them to stand up and file for complaints," she said.


Walang pagsisisi si Miss International 2013 Bea Rose Santiago sa pag-aming nakaranas siya ng iba’t ibang klase ng sexual harassment mula noong bata pa siya.

“I don’t feel heavy anymore, like a secret I have been keeping.

“I could talk about it with my family, which was harder before,” mensahe ng beauty-queen-turned-actress sa eksklusibo niyang pahayag sa PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) nitong Miyerkules, November 21.

Sa Cataingan, Masbate, lumaki si Bea Rose.

Sa kanyang Facebook post noong November 11, ibinahagi ng 28-anyos na beauty queen na namolestiya siya ng isang pari roon noong bata siya.

Bukod sa pari, nakaranas din daw siya ng pangha-harass mula sa isang male pageant winner, isang kilalang businessman, at isang middle-aged man.

Matagal nang naka-move on si Bea Rose, pero mas nahirapan daw ang kanyang pamilya na tanggapin ang ginawang pangmomolestiya sa kanya noong bata siya.

 “I guess, although I have healed and moved on, my family had a harder time accepting.

“My mom and aunties who LOVE me dearly WERE CONFUSED AND UPSET.

“It made me appreciate them more and I guess more open to each other.

“We talked about my childhood trauma and what I could remember from the church incident.”


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VICTIM-BLAMING

Hindi raw lahat ay positibo ang reaksiyon sa ginawa niyang pag-amin.

Ayon kay Bea Rose, nakararanas siya ng pambu-bully at victim-blaming online dahil sa ginawa niyang paglalantad.

“There were those responding with ‘why’ and ‘why now’ and there’s the guilt tripping questions, ‘by you not exposing the names, you are exposing the future girls.’”

Pilit na lang daw niyang inuunawa dahil kulang ang mga ito sa kaalaman tungkol sa isyu.

“When people don’t understand your point of view, they express it by bullying and even harassment.

“I can’t blame them though, they don’t know any better.

“I mean, how do you respond to a victim?

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“I think we need to be educated, to have compassion and raise more awareness on sexual harassment.”  

Pero marami ring nagpakita ng suporta sa kanya.

Pahayag ni Bea Rose, “After receiving respect and compassion from my friends and family, I became fearless.

“I still try to educate and respond to people defending child molesters and harassing me to name drop.”

WHY NOW?

Tinanong ng PEP.ph ang former Miss International kung ano ang nag-udyok sa kanyang magsalita tungkol sa sexual harassment.

Sagot ni Bea Rose, “Honestly, I wanted to tell my story during the #MeToo movement earlier this year, but every time [I attempt to], I delete it."

Ang #MeToo Movement ay ang international campaign na naglalayong labanan ang sexual assault at harassment.

“I guess it was the posts I read about beauty queens experiencing harassment.”

Noong unang linggo ng November, nag-post sa Instagram ang tatlong Miss Earth 2018 candidates at inilahad ang diumano’y naranasang sexual harassment mula sa isang sponsor ng international pageant na idinaos sa Pilipinas.

Ang gusto raw patunayan ni Bea ay hindi lang sa pageant industry nagaganap ang sexual harassment.

“I wrote that because I want to say it is not just in pageantry. It’s everywhere.

"And no matter how old, young, important or religious a person can be, they can still be a monster."


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NO REGRETS

Marami raw positibong resulta ang ginawang pagbubunyag ni Bea Rose, kahit sa kanyang hometown sa Masbate, kung saan siya namolestiya ng isang pari.

Sa kanyang Facebook post, binanggit ng beauty queen na ang paring ito ay nagsesermon pa rin sa Masbate.

Saad niya sa PEP.ph, “I have no regrets. I opened a very dark room with many secrets.

“People are talking and discussing it.

“People from Masbate are finally aware and slowly asking questions.

“Teens and women are messaging me, thanking me and confiding!

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“I am trying to help them to stand up and file for complaints.

“It takes a lot of courage and spirit to face their reality and it’s not easy to be on their shoes.”  

Bilang pangwakas, may mensahe si Bea Rose sa mga kagaya niyang nabiktima ng sexual harassment:

“You are not alone. He or she is a monster and they should be punished.

“Talk to someone who can help you.

“If they don’t believe you, I believe you!

“You are strong and confident!

“Don’t let him/her take your power away from you!

“It’s not you! You did nothing wrong, they did!

“When you find the courage, be your voice and speak up!

“Do not be scared!

“Pray to God for guidance and strength, He will never leave you and forsake you.”


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Writer at heart. Follow me on Twitter @tweetieberns


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