Here’s a sad truth about sexual harassment: it can happen to anyone, anytime and anywhere. Experiencing it can leave much fear, trauma and helplessness to the victim. The stigma surrounding the issue also pressure victims to hesitate or dismiss reporting to the authorities.
Fret not, however. Gabbie is just one chat away.
Introduced by women’s rights group Gabriela, Gabbie is the first chatbot in the country to help make the reporting of sexual harassment easier. The Facebook messenger chatbot can be searched as “Gabbiegabriela” on the social media site.
Gabriela’s Secretary General Joms Salvador said they wanted to give the victims “a friend that would listen and an avenue for them to talk about these sensitive issues comfortably and confidentially” through a tool that is used everyday.
In compliance with Republic Act 10173 or the Data Privacy Act, the chatbot also assured that no information provided by the victims would be shared with the public.
MB Life tried the chatbot and found that Gabbie asks whether a person simply want to know what sexual harassment is or if he or she was sexually harassed. If it’s the former, Gabbie provides easy to understand information on Republic Act 7877, the Philippine law that covers the type of harassment encountered by the person.
Gabriela, however, puts it simply as an act that makes one feel shame, discomfort, or insecurity. It includes, but is not limited to, catcalling, online defamation, suggestive jokes and acts, unwarranted touching, among others.
If in case you are reporting a case of sexual harrassment, Gabbie asks whether the incident happened in the workplace, on the street, online or if it was committed by someone known or unknown to the victim. If gender-based harassment happened online, victims can still seek legal action through Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act which covers bullying, libel and slander on social media.
Currently, there is no comprehensive Philippine law that addresses gender-based online harassment.