Press Release
April 5, 2018

"Forcing yourself on a woman is not a show of confidence, it's rape" - Hontiveros reminds men

In light of the viral video concerning a "Pick-Up Academy" or PUA, Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros sternly reminded men that forcing oneself on women is rape.

"Forcing yourself on anyone is called rape", Hontiveros said in a statement on Thursday. PUA made the rounds on Facebook and Twitter when an instructor in one of the most viral videos was recorded teaching a group of men that women "like to be forced" into having sex. The instructor was later on identified as someone named "Smooth", who described himself as the founder of PUA, a "company that teaches men how to be more confident around women".

Netizens have called out PUA for promoting misogynistic behavior. PUA members were asked to post a "lay report" in their Facebook group. Some nude photos and videos of unsuspecting women have purportedly been uploaded by members of the said group.

Hontiveros, the Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Women and Gender Equality, said that this behavior is disturbing and appalling. "Women are neither commodities nor conquests", Hontiveros declared. "Sharing photos and videos of unsuspecting women with a group of men online is harassment and qualifies as cybercrime", she also added.

Hontiveros in 2017 filed the Anti-Gender-Based Electronic Violence [GBEV] Bill which strengthens penalties against sexual harassment online. Hontiveros said that PUA is "a reality online, a parallel universe in social media where women are treated as objects and not persons". Hontiveros also filed the Tres Marias Bills that include the strengthening of the country's anti-rape and anti-sexual harassment laws.

"Sexism is alive and well not only in women's daily reality but also online. This must stop", Hontiveros urged. The Senator said that her office is open to any woman who has been a victim of PUA. "We need more women to speak up against this despicable behavior. We are willing to help", she added.

The Senator also said that men should be taught that "No Means No". "What these men need to understand is that women have their own agency. We can decide for ourselves, thank you. And when women say no, we mean no", Hontiveros explained.

"What these men need to understand is that manipulation, toxic masculinity, and cheap tricks are awful, disrespectful and can land you in jail", the Senator also said as a comment on PUA's purported main thrust of making men more confident in talking to women. "You know what's sexy? Respect is sexy", she concluded.

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