Isiniwalat ng isang kandidata sa Miss Earth 2018 ang naranasan niya diumanong sexual harassment mula sa isang pageant sponsor.
Dito sa Pilipinas ginanap ang annual international beauty pageant na nagtapos sa coronation night noong Sabado, November 3.
Sa pamamagitan ng kanyang Instagram account kahapon, November 7, inilahad ni Miss Earth Canada Jaime VandenBerg ang hindi magandang karanasan niya habang ginaganap ang pageant.
Simula ng 21-year-old beauty queen, "I left to compete at an international pageant in the Philippines about a month ago.
"I was so excited because I had been to the Philippines before and loved the country and the people; however, the experience with the pageant was not what I had expected.
"I left Miss Earth because I did not feel safe under their care."
Hindi tinapos ni VandenBerg ang kumpetisyon dahil umalis siya bago pa man ang grand coronation.
Ayon kay VandenBerg, nakatanggap siya ng tawag mula sa isang sponsor noong pangalawang araw ng pageant.
Ito ay sa kabila ng hindi naman niya personal na ibinigay ang kanyang numero sa sponsor.
"The second day of the pageant I felt uncomfortable because a sponsor from the first night was given my phone number, without my consent, and was calling me asking for my hotel and room number.
"I gave my phone to a team manager so that she could resolve the issue, but it did not work"
Ang hindi raw labis na nagustuhan ng Canadian delegate ay ang paghingi ng "sexual favours" ng sponsor kapalit diumano ng magandang resulta sa pageant.
Lahad niya, "He showed up to almost all of my events telling me he could take care of my needs and asked for sexual favours in exchange to get me further in the pageant.
"I was disgusted.
"He showed up to a hotel some girls were staying at and when I ran into him he continued to ask for my room number.
"I was lucky I wasn’t staying at that hotel.
"After so many strange calls, I recognized his phone number and was able to block it."
Kasunod nito ay binanggit ni VandenBerg ang mga insidente kung saan nakaranas siya at iba pang mga kandidata ng pangha-harass diumano mula sa sponsor.
Hindi pinangalanan ng Miss Earth candidate ang sponsor na tinutukoy niya, ngunit binanggit niyang may pag-aari itong yate sa Manila Yacht Club.
"At an event at the Manila Yacht Club he took all of the delegates in my group to his yacht and had some girls take sultry photos.
"Again, I was disgusted.
"Later in the pageant we had another sponsor event at the Manila Yacht Club and he was telling girls he could take them to Boracay, as long as we didn’t tell any one.
"A group of us left to sit out side as we did not feel comfortable. He followed us outside and was upset we were not dancing with him.
"The team mangers laughed and told us to be nice.
"Eventually we were allowed to go and sit on the bus because we refused to go back to his yacht.
"Six girls and myself left because we felt unsafe at that event.
"I asked many times why more girls weren’t given the option to leave but, was never given an answer."
Ayon pa kay VandenBerg, ipinarating niya at iba pang kandidata ang kanilang concerns sa namamahala ng Miss Earth na si Lorraine Schuck ng Carousel Productions.
Ngunit wala raw ginawa tungkol dito.
"That night a few of us were given the opportunity to bring our concerns to Miss Lorraine, the woman in charge of the pageant.
"I went through almost two weeks of sexual harassment before I anything was done about it.
"I was told he would not be around any more, but I had advised Lorraine of several other issues that were not resolved."
Sinabi rin ni VandenBerg na kinumpiska diumano ang kanyang passport ng pageant organizers, at kumuha raw ang team managers ng mga gamit sa kanyang luggage nang walang pahintulot.
"I am so thankful for the friends I made who helped me fight to get my passport back and leave the unsafe situation I was in.
"I shouldn’t have to face any kind of harassment in order to represent my country," saad niya.
Kapansin-pansin din ang paggamit niya ng #MeToo sa kanyang komento.
Ang #MeToo ay ang movement na nabuo upang labanan ang sexual harassment at sexual assault.
PAGEANT ORGANIZER SPEAKS UP
Pinabulaanan naman ni Lorraine Schuck ang mga alegasyon ni VandenBerg.
Sa panayam ni Lhar Santiago ng GMA News, sinabi ni Schuck na ibinigay nila agad ang passport nang hingin ito ni VandenBerg.
Hindi rin daw binanggit sa kanya ni VandenBerg ang sexual-harassment issue, gayong mayroong team managers na naka-assign sa bawat grupo na maaari nilang pagsabihan.
Pahayag ni Shuck, "Because she never told us. She came here on the sixth, we found out about it on the 14th. She never told anyone."
Iginiit din ni Shuck, na dati ring beauty queen, na hindi mangyayari ang ganoong insidente kung direkta itong naipaalam sa kanya.
"So, galit na galit ako sa mga team managers kasi kung ako tinawagan nila at may incident na ganoon, ipu-pull-out ko lahat because I won't allow that to happen," aniya.
Sa hiwalay na Instagram post, naghayag ng saloobin si VandenBerg tungkol sa pananatiling totoo sa sarili ng mga kababaihan sa kabila ng mga balakid sa lipunan.
Aniya, "Do not ever change yourself to fit societies standards of beauty.
"Always speak your truth and never doubt your morals if you are uncomfortable in a situation.
"It is so important to love yourself, protect yourself and appreciate yourself instead of seeking satisfaction from others. Real beauty comes from within, that is why confidence is key.
"A confident woman exudes the beauty of her personality. I will never change my morals to please any one else, I will never quit lunch to loose weight and I will always stand up when it is necessary.
"Be unapologetically yourself because you are beautiful."