Gabriela's Gabbie Lets You Report Sexual Harassment Online
by Sherry Tadeja, May 31, 2019 9:30am
Art by Dani Elevazo
It’s good to know that the government has been making an effort to address the gravity of sexual harassment in the Philippines. This is first evident in the passing of Senate Bill No. 1326 or the "Safe Streets and Public Spaces Act of 2017, a bill where anyone can press charges against catcalling and/or lewd behavior in public spaces; take this viral post as an example where a netizen successfully filed an official complaint against a catcaller.
And while we are thankful for the progress, the road to rid our country of sexual offenders is still a challenging process. Apart from that, coming forward to authorities is still considered a difficult process for victims—being harassed is not easy, to begin with. There’s still the fear of judgment and a lack of proper process when it comes to reporting harassment cases.
With a lot of gray areas with regards to reporting sexual offenders to the proper authorities Gabriela, a women's rights advocacy organization in the Philippines, created Gabbie, the first-ever sexual harassment chatbot in the Philippines today.
Gabbie by Gabriela is an automated chatbot where it collates sexual harassment incidents. It can be easily accessed through a desktop or through mobile phones via the Facebook Messenger App. Gabbie only responds in English which means it cannot answer questions in Filipino.
To use Gabbie, a complainant must first go to the Gabbie by Gabriela's Facebook page and click the 'Send A Message Button'. This will redirect the user to a chat box. From there the complainant can have the option to know the different forms of harassment to help them assess their situation. Or they can directly click the "I was harassed button" to proceed with filing a complaint.
When you opt to file a sexual harassment case, Gabbie will proceed to fill in further details such as the type of harassment, name of the offender, and your personal information. The chatbot then will need the details of the incident and ask to submit any visual proof (images, video, screenshots, etc.). Don’t worry, Gabbie recognizes the Data Privacy Act meaning all information will be kept confidential.
This move can make filing a written report less tedious and creates a safe space for the victim thoroughly.
Once all required information is acquired Gabriela will submit these to the Gabriela National Alliance, the organization’s service department, and will contact you to assist you in taking the incident to the respective authorities. At the same time, the chatbot will also generate a Harassment Form from which you can print and send to the authorities your self. You can even send it to your Human Resources Department if the incident happened at work).
Gabbie is not exclusively available for women. Anyone can file a complaint through the chatbot. So whether you've been harassed or know someone who has been harassed, Gabbie by Gabriela is a way to take action to report these incidents.
Through Gabbie or not—it is always highly encouraged to report any case of sexual harassment most especially to the proper authorities. Don’t shrug it off, nor be afraid to speak up about it. Take the case of the #MeToo movement (of which Gabbie was also inspired by), it shed light on the sexual harassment issues women—even famous celebrities—experience on a regular basis. Putting these cases into a normal conversation is a way to help put an end to sexual harassment once and for all.
For more information, follow Gabbie by Gabriela on Facebook.